Emily Kirby, Class of '16

Former Student/Alumni

The Mental Health Clinic was the most rewarding and eye opening experience that I had while in law school. I was put in situations that I never could’ve imagined if I’d tried, requiring both legal skill and creativity, empathy, and an open mind for the challenges faced within our mental health system. Working individually with clients of all backgrounds and illnesses pushed me to get out of my comfort zone, learn how to deal with difficult or uncooperative clients, and take initiative on my own cases. The independence and responsibility of handling my own case load was crucial in preparing me for my current job as an assistant criminal district attorney where I do the same thing every single day. The Clinic gave me a chance to practice interviewing and advocating in a legitimate court setting on a weekly basis. Constant practice was part of what makes this clinic so effective. Finally, the sheer subject matter and exposure to our mental health system shaped me in ways that I will never forget, far beyond my legal work. It is impossible to wrap your mind around some of these illnesses until you see them progress in people from every walk of life and understand how deep the impact can go. It sounds like an exaggeration, but it really is a perspective shifting experience and Professor Churgin approaches it with a great mix of experience, wisdom, and willingness to let you develop your own style and method in the courtroom.