The Catholic University of America

Message from the Director


Dear Colleagues and Friends,
 

The year 1970 was a turbulent one in America, a time rocked by political and social upheaval. Lawyers, however well-intentioned, were not always welcomed with open arms as the new neighbor next door.

 

That didn’t deter a bold and committed group of Catholic University law students, or Dean Clinton Bamberger, who had their back, as the Columbus School of Law opened its first walk in legal clinic in a neglected area near Union Station.

 

In those early days, clients were greeted by well-worn furniture, a small, trailblazing staff that included law students on work-study grants of $3.00 per hour, and a grouchy cat, which paid little attention to their legal needs.

 

Despite the modest surroundings, we operated like a law firm from the start.
And clients responded to the professionalism they encountered.

 

Over forty years later, Columbus Community Legal Services has continued to expand the breadth and depth of legal services that we provide to low-income individuals, while remaining true to our original law firm model. We enjoy modern offices and a hard-earned national recognition. Our team of experienced faculty members continues to support student-directed experiential learning, and explore new ways to prepare students for the variety of legal issues that they encounter in our four in-house clinics - the General Practice Clinic, Families and the Law Clinic, Advocacy for the Elderly, and our pilot program Consumer Protection Project.

 

We have traveled far but never strayed from our mission: providing compassionate and competent access to justice for the voiceless and the underserved members of our community.

 

Our students not only gain a practical foundation for their study of many substantive areas of law, but also discover their own voices while helping clinic clients to find theirs. CCLS students honor the purpose of a CUA Law School education in their extraordinary advocacy for our clients. Whether they are restoring a displaced woman to her home, protecting an immigrant family from domestic abuse, representing veterans from across the country, or standing up against debt collectors, today's students continue our proud tradition of easing the burdens of people in need.

 

CCLS Alumni have often carried this commitment on into their professional and personal lives. They have gone on to work for law firms, courts, universities, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. In addition, our alumni have remained a great resource to CCLS. We acknowledge, with special thanks, their continued support.

 

Please explore our website and feel free to contact CCLS with any questions you may have.

 

With Best Wishes,

 

Catherine Klein

Professor of Law

Director of Columbus Community Legal Services