Dean Katherine S. Broderick is quoted in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education on UDC-DCSL's training for careers in public interest law.
From Diverse: "The students who come to UDC want to be public interest public policy lawyers and want to learn by doing, and they want to serve the most vulnerable citizens,” says Broderick, a former head of the Washington, D.C., ACLU who is in her 33rd year at the school. She says she tries to steer students away from chasing after big law firms.
The emphasis on public policy and advocating for the voiceless is drilled into students even before they are accepted at UDC.
As part of the application process, students are asked to write about an injustice they witnessed, what they did about it and how they would handle it now. In their first year, they are required to put in 40 hours of community service with public interest and public policy employers. They put in a minimum of 700 hours in their last two years, she says.
This kind of training combined with myriad clinics prepares the students for the practice of law, she adds. The school also funds a summer fellowship for first-year students who want an internship with a public interest employer.
"Our students have a leg up because they know how to investigate a case, interview a client, draft a complaint,” she says. "We get phone calls from employers saying, ‘We just hired your grad over someone from Columbia because she knows how to do all these things, and we can’t live without her.’ Most people graduate from law school without a clue how to practice law.”