One of our school’s mission pillars, and one of the reasons I chose to attend Charlotte Law, is the school’s commitment to making students practice ready. Practice ready assignments have many benefits. But it was not until my 3L year that I was able to experience the ultimate practice ready assignment – actually representing a client in court – through the Civil Rights Clinic and the use of the North Carolina Student Practice Certificate.
A student is eligible for a practice certificate if they have completed 45 credit hours, are in good academic standing, and supervised by a licensed attorney. All it takes is filling out a few forms (found on RUFUS) and submitting them to the North Carolina State Bar. With a practice certificate, a student can take on the role as lawyer – doing everything from offering legal advice to trying a court case.
My experience as part of the Civil Rights Clinic was to work with a defendant on a criminal misdemeanor. Under the supervision of Prof. Jason Huber and a local criminal defense attorney, I was able to meet with the client, work on case strategy, meet with the District Attorney, and actually represent our client in court – handling everything from pre-trial plea negotiations, cross-examining witnesses, giving a closing argument, and negotiating sentencing. The whole experience was the ultimate combination of class lectures I have attended. Being in the courtroom just feels right – as if it is where I belong. I am lucky enough to have had this amazing educational experience. The Student Practice Certificate is absolutely the ultimate practice ready exercise and I think every student should have this experience.
More information about the Student Practice Certificate is available on RUFUS.
By: Rachel Davis