Seth Manetta-Dillon

My two semesters in the Criminal Defense Clinic were the most educational and inspirational of law school. From day one, the clinic supervisors held students to high expectations. Supervisors were always available to provide guidance and support, but it was clear the clients were ours, the cases our responsibility. As a result, my skills grew in a variety of areas including legal research, client communication, case negotiation, and trial preparation. Additionally, I gained a new understanding and appreciation for the thoroughness and attention to detail required to provide high-quality representation to those charged with a crime. As defense attorneys we do not have the luxury of being anything less than completely prepared, and as advocates we must always have our clients’ interests in mind. Most importantly, I realized that when you work in a system that dehumanizes and dismisses people (as the criminal justice system does), it is critical to always recognize and appreciate the humanity in each one of your clients. Your clients are real people with real challenges, real responsibilities, and real goals. And they are looking to you. At first it can seem daunting, but the Criminal Defense Clinic thoroughly prepares you to tackle this challenge and responsibility head on. As I head to Philadelphia to begin my career as a public defender, I know that I will draw upon my time in the Criminal Defense Clinic as both an inspiration and a resource. I encourage any student interested in criminal defense or litigation to take the Criminal Defense Clinic. You will be happy you did.

Category: Perspectives