Legal Aid, courts ally to instruct law students

Law students from northeastern Ohio are getting a first hand look at the court system this summer working with Community Legal Aid.

On July 27, some of the Legal Aid’s 14 “summer associates” visited the 7th District Court of Appeals in Youngstown to experience the feel of the courtroom.

“We are thrilled to offer these students a glimpse of the appellate practice,” said Judge Gene Donofrio, the 7th District’s presiding judge. “We hope the experience provided insight into actual courtroom practice and, perhaps even bolstered the confidence of these future lawyers.”

While there, students observed the oral arguments scheduled for the day and had with the judiciary.

According to Rachel Nader, Community Aid’s advocacy director, the summer partnerships among her organization, the courts and the law schools allows students to witness court procedures firsthand and hear insight from judges and other court officials.

“By providing an in-depth look into the professional life of an attorney, students broaden their understanding of what to expect when moving from the classroom to the courtroom,” Nader said.

In addition to collaborative programming with local courts, CLA offers its summer associates the opportunity to draft pleadings, interview clients, analyze evidence, and attend and assist with actual hearings during the 12-week program.

After the visit to the 7th District Court, several students offered feedback about their expectations.

“This experience gave me greater confidence to pursue appellate work, which is something I’ve always been interested in,” said Brandon Burkey, a student at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law.

Kinsey Obinger, a student at Cleveland-Marshall School of Law, appreciated the judges taking time to answer questions.

“It helped to see them as actual people,” Obinger said.

The summer program offers istrator students college credit or internships, but is not a paid endeavor. Students are encouraged to apply for grants or fellowships through the law school to help them with living expenses. All of the students have at least completed their first year of law school and have a desire to serve disadvantanged citizens and communities, according to the Legal Aid website.

Nader said students had similar visits with other area courts during their summer internship.

The students on July 13 visited Youngstown Municipal Court watching the civil and criminal hearings in the morning and then Judge Carla Baldwin’s veterans court in the afternoon. The students were hosted that day by court Administrator David Magura.

On July 21, the students visited the Trumbull County courthouse for the criminal day of Common Pleas Judge Ronald J. Rice. After the docket was completed, Rice visited with them in chambers.

While at the courthouse they attended civil protection hearings presided by Magistrate Patrick McCarthy and talked with chief Magistrate Anthony Cornicell and Magistrate Ashleigh Musick.

Summer associates

Ten of the 14 Legal Aid summer associates were able to visit area courts this summer:

• Olivia Cobb, Cleveland: Case Western

• Liam Monahan, Akron: University of Akron School of Law

• Nadine Jones, Akron: University of Akron School of Law

• James Summerville, Medina: University of Akron School of Law

• Halle Marchetta, Akron (formerly of Youngstown): University of Akron School of Law

• Kinsey Obinger, Lakewood: Cleveland- Marshall School of Law

• Brandon Burkey, Rootstown: Case Western

• Hannah Sylvester, Niles: Ohio Northern University, Pettit College of Law

• Alyssa Pijanowski, Kent: University of Akron School of Law

• Dennis Mader, Avon: Cleveland- Marshall School of Law


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