Editorials: Law Student Volunteers And The Unauthorized Practice of Law

The Connecticut Law Tribune

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Law students from all three of Connecticut's law schools currently provide volunteer assistance in the New Haven and Hartford Superior Courts to self-represented individuals seeking domestic violence protective orders. This is a valuable service to the applicants and to the courts, helping to insure that applications for temporary restraining orders (TROs) are properly prepared, and that applicants are informed about what they need to do to have their orders served by marshals and about the court process after the respondents are served.

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    As a law student many years ago at Northeastern, I participated in the Domestic Violence Advocacy Project, which was a clinical program, and did similar work helping victims of domestic violence obtain restraining orders. We were supervised by the law professor in charge of the clinical program, who was admitted to practice law in Massachusetts. Our supervision by an admitted attorney was a critical part of the teaching process and provided the support we needed to advocate effectively. Respectfully, this is the piece that appears to be missing here in CT, not an exception to the Practice Book. In my view, if these students are doing an internship, they need to be supervised by someone who is guiding their internship, and that person needs to be admitted to the bar.

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