Students Learn How to Think Like Lawyers

“Every day at the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law is stimulating and engaging. The staff creates an environment that facilitates learning and growth,” says 2014 Trope and Trope Public Interest Fellow Rochelle Smith (USC, 3L).

Assigned one-on-one to staff attorneys for direction and supervision, interns get a lot of hands on experience drafting pleadings and declarations, interviewing clients, filing and finding documents at court, and attending some hearings. “I am so grateful that I had a chance to make a difference for our clients, as one step toward a larger goal,” says Rebecca Diddams (UCLA, 3L). “Helping them have more time with their children or enough money to pay rent is life changing for them and for me.”

“Learning how to think and act like a lawyer is a real challenge,” remarks Alleen Makarian (Pepperdine, 2L). Knowing this and “because of the constant demand for our assistance,” says Betty Nordwind, Harriett Buhai Center Executive Director.”We give our students a lot of responsibility and experience under controlled circumstances.  I think they leave with a much clearer sense of what being an attorney means, both its joys and its difficulties.” And it’s a win-win for the clients as well. As law intern Lisa Smith (UCLA, 3L) puts it, “The people we met would have had nowhere else to turn for help, but for the Center.”

Pictured from right to left: Rebecca Diddams, Lisa Smith, Alleen Markarian and Rochelle Smith