This semester I am in the clinical program at my school which means I get real clients--people who often can not afford legal services and have been lost in the system. My partner and I talked to our first client over the phone yesterday and had our first in-person meeting today.
Our meeting today went really well, but the whole case just broke my heart. It was already a sad situation but meeting the client and his mother in person made it even heart-wrenching. I have been thinking about it all day. There is such a difference between reading about a client in a book or in a case file, and seeing a client. I cannot go into the details of the case but there is just so much I want to do to help them, but do not know how much we can deliver.
I remember debating for a long time about whether I should apply for the Executive Board of my journal or do clinic. I am glad I listened to my supervisor at the General Counsel's office who told me to do clinic (and Editorial Board rather than Exec).
Although these cases are hard, I could not imagine graduating from law school without these experiences that you cannot get in classes or even summer jobs. It would be like letting a med student become a doctor without ever seeing a client. That's a scary thought.