Experiential learning immerses Penn State law students in career realities

Law School Innovations Include DA Veterans Mentorship Program

For third-year law student and Army veteran Dan Clarke, the idea for a Veterans Treatment Court in Center County came at the request of local military and veterans who wanted to provide a legal mechanism to deal with veterans involved in the criminal justice system.

Clarke works as a research assistant for Michele Vollmer, associate dean of the law school for clinics and experiential learning and director of the Veterans and Military Legal Clinic. They began meeting with local veterans, attorneys and members of the Penn State community more than two years ago to identify issues faced by veterans involved in the criminal justice system.

Through 2020, Clarke and a group of veterans and advocates worked with Center County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna to establish what would become the Center County Veterans Mentorship Program. and the DA’s Veterans Treatment Program.

Initiative. After months of research and discussions with surrounding county courts, judges and courts in other states, the team has established a mentorship program that helps veterans complete the tasks necessary to succeed in their journey. treatment.

“Working as a research assistant was crucial as it gave me my first experience of dealing with real people and their problems, going beyond the textbook and experiencing what it is to practice for the benefit of people I know and work with,” Clarke mentioned.

Clarke added that Penn State Law continues to provide her with support and access to an extensive network of professionals to inform decision-making on the veteran mentorship program.

“The talent pool and community resources that Penn State offers are second to none when it comes to launching a program designed to help a potentially vulnerable segment of our population,” he said.

Piloting national security simulations

Carter D. Westphal, juris doctor candidate for the class of 2022, said that the simulations in the National Security Law II Course taught by Vice Admiral Houck exposed him to the realities of how authorities respond to national security threats.

“Vice Admiral Houck lets students take the wheel as they navigate the interplay between national security law, politics and politics – a task that becomes less daunting after weekly repetition and commentary” said Westphal, who hopes to interact with international, national security and legal experts related to cybersecurity as part of his appointment to the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps after graduation.

National Security Law II has been characterized as a groundbreaking course that provides students with opportunities like a simulation scheduled for February 15 in which each group will meet an “American President” – a role played by Mary Beth Long (Penn State School of International Affairs Professor of Practice and former US Under Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs) and retired US Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller (former Commander US Southern Command).

In National Security Law II simulations, students replicate legal practice in the national security environment, simulating legal issues as they arise in situations of competing national and international political interests, taking into account the challenges such as time constraints and potential mass losses.

Students involved in issues ranging from the Supreme Court to solar energy to insurance law

Christopher C. French, Penn State Law professor and director of the Trial Advocacy Program, recently co-authored the release of the book’s sixth edition “Insurance Law in Brief” (West Academic Publishing) which examines the foundations of insurance law.

Third-year juris doctor program students Garvey McKee and Emory Robertson helped French on the project. Penn State students also helped French with his recently published 2021 edition of his treatise on insurance law, New Appleman Insurance Law in Pennsylvania.

Penn State Law in University Park clinics also include the Civil Rights Appeal Clinicwhich allows students to focus on appellate advocacy, develop research skills, write briefs, assist with case selection, develop substantive legal positions, and plan an advocacy strategy. call.

Civil Rights Appellate Clinic students recently worked under Penn State law professor Michael Foreman, director of the clinic, to file a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that seeks to clarify the rights granted to service members under the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act.

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