Schwarz, the current law student, is enrolled in the same clinic as Hilton was. He spent his first month on the job poring through hundreds of pages of records and acclimating himself to cases, one of which dates back to the 1980s and another to 2006. Work over the next year may expose him to multiple stages of litigation.
“Having that full yearlong experience allows us to dive into the issues and better help clients with their needs,” he said. “It also allows clients to get more comfortable with students.”
State Sen. Kelda Roys, D-Madison, agrees.
“As a former clinical student, this was the most important and formative experience of my time at UW Law,” the 2004 law school graduate said in a statement. “You need more than 3.5 months to learn and develop skills and enough knowledge to actually understand the issues at play and do substantive work.”
Tokaji said he understands that a single semester may not satisfy some students.
“That’s why we’re creating options for multi-semester,” he said in an interview. “Where I respectfully disagree is in requiring students to stay in clinic for 12 months in order to get the benefits of a clinical education. … This is about giving more choices to students, not less.”
Still, some in the state’s legal and political communities are worried by what they hear.