Florida Coastal School of Law third-year student Rashae Chambers has found her niche in helping others. Raised in Baltimore, Md., Chambers has served as a legal clinician on twelve cases within Coastal Law’s Immigrant Right Clinic and Family Law Clinic. She plans to continue her work in public interest, particularly child advocacy, after graduation.
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Chambers advocates that the clinics are the best experience a student can receive before graduating and that her work there had a tremendous impact on her legal education.
“I feel like when I graduate I’m not going to be so overwhelmed,” said Chambers who will graduate in May 2014 and has also participated in the Public Interest Research Bureau, Student Bar Association and Family Law Society. “I have already filed a pleading, done client interviews, I’ve gone to court, and talked with a judge. I’ve learned how to manage a real case load, a real case file, and a real client. I really feel prepared.”
Recently, Chambers attended an Equal Justice Works Conference in Arlington, Va. where she spoke about her experience with potential employers.
“One of things I heard from employers was having that live client experience and interaction - you can’t teach that. You can’t teach somebody how to handle themselves with a client and how to handle a real case. I think it’s so beneficial to employers when you know how to get the ball rolling. “
During the fall 2013 semester, Chambers was given a Special Immigrant Juvenile Status case by the clinician professors because it encompassed her interest and experience in both immigration and family law. For the case, Chambers was able to get a child who was alone in the United States declared a dependent of the court so they could apply for U.S. citizenship.
“That was my first family law court appearance - and I was really nervous,” said Chambers who graduated from Lincoln College with bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Spanish as well as a prelaw certificate. “But the judge granted it and it was so rewarding to help that child. In my experience, all of the clinic’s clients are grateful but the children are always really grateful and they really take to us as well.”
After graduation, Chambers hopes to work at organizations like called Kids in Need of Defense or the Women’s Law Center of Maryland where they do a lot of positive work in child advocacy, immigration, and family law.
“It definitely makes a big difference when you care about what you’re doing. I can say for myself, and I think the other clinicians would agree, that it is very time consuming but it is definitely worth it. Recently, I watched a client take her oath as a legal U.S. citizen and that was really fulfilling.”
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