As a Future Pro Bono attorney, I am completing my Community Justice Fellowship after practicing for three months in each of the Legal Aid Center’s main project areas: Consumer Rights Project, Family Justice Project, and Children’s Attorneys Project.
I was anxious at my first solo hearing, arguing for a TPO for a domestic violence survivor. However, I had a deep conviction in doing what was right for my client and knowing I went to law school precisely for this moment. I listened attentively to opposing counsel’s arguments. When it was my turn, I used my anxiety to fuel my argument and incorporated any counterarguments I had written down. I stuck to the facts and highlighted the evidence in a way most favorable to my client. The judge agreed and denied opposing party’s motion to dissolve the TPO. I was overjoyed! I won my first hearing and felt on cloud nine all day.
It is my belief that all graduating law students should do a year in a fellowship like this one where they explore fields they have little background in. Not only does doing so create a more well-rounded attorney, but also clients who need the most help are assisted along the way. These experiences – for my clients and myself – would not have been possible without Legal Aid Center and Paul Padda Law.
Legal Aid Center’s Community Justice Fellowship, sponsored by Paul Padda Law, is a one-year fellowship for law school graduates. For more information, visit https://www.lacsn.org/community fellowship.
About this article: This article was originally published in the Communiqué, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association, (August 2022). See https://clarkcountybar.org/member-benefits/communique-2022/communique-august-2022/.
About the author
Widad Sairafe is a graduate of UC Irvine’s School of Law where she was active in the Expungement Clinic, International Refugee Assistance Project, ACLU Court Watch, and the American Constitution Society.
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