Bench & Bar

MAR 2018

The Bench & Bar magazine is published to provide members of the KBA with information that will increase their knowledge of the law, improve the practice of law, and assist in improving the quality of legal services for the citizenry.

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43 BENCH & BAR | W hitley Bailey made her first solo court appear- ance about 16 hours after she had been sworn in as a lawyer by the Supreme Court of Ken- tucky. And she was prepared for it. e reason: She had court- room experience in the Semester in Practice program at Chase College of Law when she was a student. Semester in Practice is just what the name suggests, a semester in which students leave the tradi- tional classroom to practice law under the supervision of lawyers and judges. For Ms. Bailey, who graduated in 2016, that semester involved general-practice matters in the law firm of W. Jeffrey Scott, a Chase alumnus, in Grayson. "I worked in defense of an $87 mil- lion bankruptcy adversary claim against former corporate officers. I participated in a criminal jury trial, and proposed questions to my supervisor that were asked of witnesses. I attended domestic relations hearings and prepared a variety of pleadings," she says. e Semester in Practice program places students in law firms, legal departments, judicial chambers, or just about any place law- yers work and students can get substantive experience, in Kentucky and elsewhere. Some skills they develop – such as interviewing clients and preparing motions – are obvious for lawyers. Others are more subtle. "As part of an online seminar, students focus on the so-called soft skills that legal employers report are the single most critical factor for success as young lawyers," says Professor Jennifer Kins- ley, director of experiential learning who supervises Semester in Practice. "For example, students participate in an active listening assignment in which they rate their listening skills across a variety of factors, and then practice improving their listening skills in their real-world placements." e practice experience for Ms. Bailey was a thread that tied together classroom work and employment after graduation. "I was able to customize my learning experience to develop skills related to my future," she says. "No classroom experience can prepare a student for the serious, life-altering application of law; a student has to be face-to-face with a client in an office or courtroom." Now she applies the law as an associate in the W. Jeffrey Scott firm. "e experience I had in the courtroom and interacting with attor- neys and judges made me more comfortable when beginning to practice on my own. I began my career as an attorney by attending court, on my own, approximately 16 hours after I was sworn in before the Kentucky Supreme Court. e familiarity and confidence I experienced at my first lone court appearance can be attributed only to the experiences afforded through the Semester in Practice program," she says. About 20 percent of students in the program during a final year of law school transition to full-time employment after graduation at their previous placement, as Ms. Bailey did, says Professor Kinsley. "is alleviates the ramp-up period that occurs when students begin working in a new office after the bar exam, and allows students to literally hit the ground running once they graduate." Students in the program work 200 to 600 hours for up to 12 hours of graduation credit, and may or may not be enrolled in other courses at the same time. PERFECT JOB CANDIDATES P R A C T I C E M A K E S C H A S E G R A D UAT E S Whitley Bailey is an associate in the W. Jeffrey Scott law firm, in Grayson, where she participated in the Chase Semester in Practice program as a student. Entities interested in being considered for placement opportunities for Chase students may complete a registration form available at nku.edu/chaselaw on the "externship" page and submit it to Professor Jennifer Kinsley, director of experiential learning, 507 Nunn Hall, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY 41099 or by email to kinsleyj1@nku.edu. COLUMNS

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