For law students just starting their legal career, a clerkship funded by the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation offers professional experience, networking opportunities, and personal growth. This June, to help law students get the most out of their clerkship, the Foundation teamed up with Barnes & Thornburg to host a Diversity Summer Clerkship Panel.

Justice for All Summer Clerks are law students funded by the Foundation who work across Ohio for civil legal service nonprofits. Now in its third year, the grant program has increased accessibility to public service experiences for students of color while advancing diversity in the profession.

The panel brought together diverse, experienced attorneys to offer their insights about summer clerkships, law school, and the legal profession and provided the clerks a chance to meet one another.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet different people from across the state who are clerking with different nonprofits and law firms,” said Alaina Collins, a rising 2L and a Justice for All Summer Clerk at LegalWorks. “It was also nice to speak directly with accomplished legal professionals across the city who have been in our shoes.”

Panelists Christian Gonzalez, partner at Dinsmore & Shohl; Kari Murphy, attorney at CaJacob Law Group; and David Paragas, partner at Barnes & Thornburg, joined moderator Nici Workman, partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease to offer tips on finding and connecting with a mentor and advice on navigating working in a legal environment.

One of the major themes that Collins took away was the value of personal perseverance and confidence, particularly in the competitive field of law.

“All three panelists were really good examples of people who have encountered different challenges in the field but continued on and eventually were able to see progress,” she said. “They didn’t let the adversities deter them from achieving their goals.”

Justice for All Summer Clerks are law students funded by the Foundation working across Ohio to support civil legal services. Meet the Clerks