December 6, 2023
Legal Clinic Leaders Series — Briana Cabrera
Meet the students who work directly with and in the community to provide quality legal representation to underserved individuals through our Legal Clinic Leaders blog series. We're excited to spotlight these all-star advocates and showcase the many different fields of law you can explore through our legal clinics and the wide range of opportunities available at Southwestern to gain practical lawyering skills. We hope their experiences will inspire YOU to join a legal clinic.
Meet 4L Briana Cabrera
- Children’s Rights Clinic, Spring 2023
Why did you decide to participate in a clinic?
I chose to participate in the Children's Rights Clinic because I wanted to learn how the law protects children and their families in special education and school discipline-related matters. Given how impactful a child's school experience can be to their future, I knew that by joining the Children’s Rights Clinic and offering a voice to my clients, I could potentially impact at least one child's experience for the better.
What skills and knowledge did you learn from your clinic experience?
The Children’s Rights Clinic provided many practice opportunities inside the classroom that I was able to apply to my client cases, such as negotiation, oral advocacy, and client communication skills.
What helped take you from student to advocate?
For me, the relationships I formed with my clients pushed me from student to advocate. It was important for me to do my best for my clients, which required me to take what I learned in the clinic and apply it to my advocacy to achieve the best result. The Children’s Rights Clinic taught me that advocacy comes in many different styles. By the end of my time with the clinic, I learned what style of advocacy I felt most comfortable with and which style worked best for me and my clients.
What words of advice would you have for future clinic students?
Have confidence in your ability to advocate for your clients and know that the work you do in the clinic will impact someone's life for the better.
Please share an inspiring anecdote from your clinic.
In one of my school discipline cases, my client was faced with a harsh expulsion packet, filled with many unreasonable terms that were detrimental to the client's future. The expulsion packet was given to our team at the last minute. After reviewing the terms and coming up with a counter packet, I made the decision to call the school administration so that I could discuss the reasoning for our disagreements. As a result, I was able to have a productive conversation with the school administration, which ultimately led to their agreement to our version of the stipulation. My client was very happy, as was the outside co-counsel we worked with.
Interested in learning more about the legal clinics? Visit our Clinics page here.