About 12 years ago, the program coordinator and associate professor of legal studies, Hillary Michaud, started a law clinic initiative that has since grown into a major force in legal service in the Baltimore area.
“It started as a tax law clinic, in partnership with the Baltimore Cash Campaign,” said Michaud.
After a few successful years, the law professor added a family law clinic in partnership with the Pro Se Project in Baltimore County. Michaud also ran a law clinic with the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) in various areas of legal specialties for a few years. These clinics that she conducts are a part of the LAW 390 course for legal studies majors, but the area of law that the students study changes each semester.
“Every class is taught, and students are supervised by a legal studies department faculty member who specializes and practices in the relevant area of law,” said Michaud. Last year, she added a bankruptcy law clinic, the most recent effort, partnering with the Legal Aid Bureau in Baltimore City. Adjunct legal studies professor Louise Carwell is currently teaching the law clinic course at Stevenson.
“I seek out, engage, and maintain relationships with our clinic partners to create the various clinics in the different legal specialty areas,” Michaud explained. “The clinics are to give legal studies majors, whose career path is to work as paralegals or to go on to law school and become attorneys, the opportunity to provide pro bono legal services in the community.”
Michaud’s and the students’ main area of focus is the local community, which includes Baltimore county and Baltimore City, with clients who are local residents.
“Each year our law clinics provide hundreds of hours of pro bono legal services to the Baltimore community, providing free legal services to the people who need our assistance,” said Michaud. Encouraging students to become part of a legal team during their college years is part of the mission of the legal studies department.