Elaine Dick (’16) learned quickly that the opportunity to develop the career she wanted would be found in the Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law clinics. During her time at the law school, she spent three semesters immersed in the Bette and Wylie Aitken Family Protection Clinic and the Alona Cortese Elder Law Center as both student and mentor. Last month, in her final week of studies, her work was recognized by the Fowler School of Law faculty with the Clinical Legal Education Association’s (CLEA) Outstanding Student Award of 2016.

Each year, CLEA presents an outstanding student award to one student at each participating law school. Criteria for the award include exceptional work in the seminar portion and field work component of a law school clinic and, if applicable, contribution to the clinical community at the law school. Elaine was nominated and selected by Fowler School of Law’s clinical faculty thanks to her work in both clinics.

“Elaine has impressed all of her clinical professors with her passion, her advocacy skills, her ability to build and maintain rapport with clients, and her penchant for having fun in the face of tremendously challenging work,” Clinical Professor Wendy Seiden said.

Following her passion for women’s and children’s rights, Elaine enrolled in the Family Protection Clinic in her second year, where she had the opportunity to represent a survivor of family violence in a Superior Court protective order hearing. After developing a trusting relationship with her client, she went on to successfully secure a five-year protective order for her client with full custody rights of the child involved.

The following semester, Elaine enrolled in the advanced section of the Family Protection Clinic, where she served as a guide to first-semester clinic students. She also provided legal education workshops for victims of family violence seeking protective orders and offered one-to-one advice sessions. She participated in the Elder Law Center in her final semester at Fowler School of Law, where she served as a leader to other clinic students and volunteered to take an elder abuse case to hearing.

“I am beyond honored to have received this award, especially after being nominated by both the Family Protection Clinic and the Elder Law Center,” she said. “It is so easy to get lost in the game of law school grades and hypothetical situations, but the clinics allowed me to work one on one with clients and remember why I came to law school: to help people. Both of the clinics taught me that I have the ability to be a lawyer, not just a law student who can recite rule statements and apply them, but a lawyer who can listen to her clients and successfully advocate for their needs and wants. I cherish the hugs from clients so much more than the 4.0s.”

Above: Elaine accepts the CLEA Outstanding Student Award from Professor Wendy Seiden.

Learn more about Fowler School of Law clinics.