Florida Law Clinic
A group of four second and third year Truman Bodden Law School law students accompanied by Law School Director, Mr. Mitchell Davies, recently attended the Caribbean Law Clinic which was hosted by the Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida. The Clinic is the flagship event of the American and Caribbean Law Initiative and meets biannually at member schools in rotation. Member schools who participated in the Stetson Clinic in addition to TBLS included: The Norman Manley Law School, Jamaica, The Eugene Dupuch Law School, Bahamas, The Florida Coastal School of Law, Jacksonville, Nova Southeastern University School of Law, Fort Lauderdale, and Charlotte School of Law.
The Fall 2014 Clinic was attended by approximately 30 students from participating law schools and required teams of students drawn from different law schools to present legal arguments (based on US law) in response to issues raised in preset problem questions to a panel of "judges" seconded from the District Attorney's Office in Tampa.
The participating TBLS students noted that the Clinic provided them with: "a unique experience that exposed us to live American legal issues. The Clinic allowed us to work collaboratively with students from multiple jurisdictions, who were at different stages in their legal education". One of the second year TBLS students, Darcy Noon, further commented that the experience afforded the opportunity: "to work with students who were further advanced in their legal education, which gave us an insight as to what we could look forward to after completing our Bachelor of Laws Honours degrees from the University of Liverpool. This experience has helped to prepare me for achieving my goals, after obtaining my LLB Honours degree".
The Clinic also presented TBLS students with a good networking opportunity with students and professors from other law school in the Caribbean and the Southern United States. Second year TBLS student, Nordra Walcott, said: "this experience will not only be etched in my mind for years to come, but it has also helped to reassure me of my career choice as a litigator. We had the opportunity to research real legal issues and prepare legal opinions on these issues. The experience also assisted us in our public speaking skills, exposed us to American courtroom etiquette, and litigation techniques. We were able to develop professional skills that will assist us once our legal education is completed".
"It was an enriching experience, which improved my advocacy skills and provided exposure to a different legal jurisdiction. I would recommend anyone considering a career in litigation to apply to the Clinic," echoed Karlie Cross, a third year TBLS student. Second year TBLS student, Lashonda Powell, added: "We would like to thank Mr. Davies for this wonderful opportunity. It was a great experience. I enjoyed working with students from other law schools."
Mitchell Davies praised all four TBLS students for their hard work in preparing for the Clinic and for their skilled advocacy in capably presenting arguments on technical points of US criminal procedure law. Mr. Davies noted that the achievements of the TBLS students was particularly pleasing given that the students from most of the other participating law schools were at a postgraduate stage in their legal training.
The next meeting of the Caribbean Law Clinic is scheduled to take place in March 2015 when the host law school will be the Truman Bodden Law School.