Progress and Practice are a Pain

I had the opportunity of visiting the old courthouse in downtown Jacksonville on the last day before the Clerk’s office was closed. It was a zoo, to say the least. One of the old-timers was telling me that, while packing to go to the new courthouse, they found an old leatherbound records book dating back to the 19th century in the vault! The new courthouse is a much-needed addition to our community, but it’s opening is now delayed due to issues with the alarm/safety systems in the new building and it’s construction has been a long, hard-fought political saga. So, we are making progress. But with progress, comes growing pains.

The same could be said about clinics. We are embarking on a new semester with new students. Throughout the semester, students will make mistakes but all of that is part of the “practice” of law. Without those “mistakes” you can’t learn and you can’t make progress towards being a practicing attorney. Students need to adopt the perspective that it is better to make mistakes during the clinical experience than when they are in practice and don’t have the safety net of their professor and student colleagues. Jump in, be diligent, but also don’t be afraid to experience every opportunity given. Although there will be mistakes, and “pains” of learning the practice of law, at the end of the semester, much like the opening of the new courthouse, we will have made progress and we will all benefit from the experience.