Meeting L was not my first client meeting, or even my first virtual client meeting due to my pro bono work during my first year in law school. However, yesterday was the first time that I introduced myself to a stranger and essentially said “I am your lawyer.” I was surprised to feel that there was a real, substantive difference in taking on that mantle with one, continuous client, as opposed to doing so during prior pro bono clinics, with rotating clients every time.
Considering my professional identity became an active part of my internal dialogue, rather than some vague outline of a future plan. How can I build confidence as a lawyer within myself, as well as within my clients? How can I fulfill my dual roles of advocate and ally in a way that feels authentic?
However, I found this first interview with our client to be deeply affirming. It has been hard to feel a sense of belonging during Zoom law school, but speaking to a real, ongoing client reminded me of why I came to law school. I really enjoyed speaking to L, hearing about her life, and meeting her children. I also found it engaging and pretty natural to sort through her stories real-time for new evidentiary threads to follow. As a developing attorney, it was comforting to be reminded that I can actually do the job and connect with clients when given the opportunity.
I was nervous to take on this role in L’s life, given the immense trust and responsibility that comes along with it. I worried that I would not seem trustworthy to L due to our differences in age and lived experience. I wanted to ensure to hold space for the hardships L and her family have endured and to approach the conversation with openness and a willingness to listen. I hope to further hone these skills moving forward.