The Clinic Experience


Cat Guerrier ’21, who received the 2020-21 Clinical Legal Education Association’s Outstanding Clinical Student Award for UVA Law, served in the Holistic Juvenile Defense and the Federal Criminal Sentence Reduction clinics.

“Both clinics demonstrated that lawyering can be messy, particularly defense work. It requires hours of research, discussion and writing. Providing holistic defense requires getting to know your clients and their unique needs. Sometimes it requires realizing that the law is not on your client’s side, making negotiations critical. Or it requires coming up with novel and creative arguments. In short, you have to be willing to adapt in order to do right by your client.” 


Through the Prosecution Clinic, Nellie Black ’20 was the second-chair prosecutor on a felony sexual assault jury trial in Nelson County Circuit Court.

“I can’t say enough about how integral the Prosecution Clinic has been to my law school experience. Learning about criminal procedure and evidence in law school is one thing, but it’s an entirely different experience to get to put those skills to work in a courtroom, standing in front of a judge or a jury.” 


Riley Segars ’23 was assigned to a direct criminal appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit with the Appellate Litigation Clinic.

“I think working in the Appellate Litigation Clinic has been the most interesting, challenging and rewarding part of my time here at UVA Law. At the beginning of last semester, the 12 of us were split into six teams of two and assigned a real case that we would be completely in charge of during the entire appellate phase of the case. That means writing the initial brief and reply briefs, and even arguing the case in front of whichever federal circuit court the case was in.”


Julia Grant ’23 said “the coolest thing I’ve done in law school, or honestly in my life” was working on the habeas corpus case Jones v. Hendrix with the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.

“The case was an extremely complicated habeas matter, and our weeks were spent unraveling seemingly endless legal complexities embedded in the issues. As oral argument loomed, we got to play justice and moot Professor [Daniel] Ortiz. It felt like prepping for battle. Then, I got to head to D.C. with some of the best people I have met in law school and listen to the justices themselves pepper Professor Ortiz with questions about the briefs I had worked on. It was truly surreal.”

Clare Hachten ’24 worked with state Sen. Creigh Deeds on mental health reform legislation at the Virginia General Assembly as part of the State and Local Government Policy Clinic.

“We learned of bills that had been introduced in previous sessions but had not been successful in part because key stakeholders hadn’t been included in the development of the bills and were unsupportive of the bills as a result. One of the most important things to do when trying to get people on board a specific bill is to make them feel included and heard.”

Blair Schaefer ’23 and the Decarceration and Community Reentry Clinic worked with four clients eligible for sentence reductions under the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act.

“The Decarceration Clinic has been one of the most meaningful parts of my law school experience, and I’ve truly learned so much in the process. Incarceration is traumatic and stigmatizing, and the clinic has provided an incredible opportunity to help clients rejoin their communities and loved ones.”

Stephen Wald ’22 and the Environmental Law and Community Engagement Clinic worked with the Sierra Club to help improve an enormous offshore wind farm.

“The clinic has been an impactful experience that’s prepared me for practice after graduation. Working with our expert and the Sierra Club gave me an amazing insight into how energy law comes to life in the real world. And the fact that we might be able to make a tangible difference on such an important project is just amazing.”


With help from Layla Khalid ’23 and Jordan Woodlief ’23 in the Immigration Law Clinic, an Afghan national who had been imprisoned for three years on a misdemeanor charge was freed on bond.

“I learned how much harder I need to work to become the attorney I want to be. As we were preparing drafts of the bond motion and doing moot court sessions, I noticed how effortlessly Professor [Sophia] Gregg and Professor [Jennifer] Kwon were able to craft creative and straightforward arguments. Moving forward in the clinic and in my time as a law student, I want to take advantage of every opportunity to present oral arguments in court and prepare novel arguments for difficult cases.”

Human Rights Clinic 2023

Jina Shin ’24, Nora Logsdon ’24, Maya Artis ’24 and Camille Blum ’24 traveled to the United Nations headquarters in New York in October 2023 for a unique learning experience.

“At the end of our short but impactful trip, the whole team left with a renewed sense of purpose for our clinic’s work. We were able to see the real-world results of the reports and speeches that we drafted and had many ideas for how to tackle future projects. Our clients are particularly focused on the lives of women and children, and we will be helping them craft reports for the 2024 session in Geneva. (We even received an invitation to attend that session!)”