Clinic Student Spotlight: Ava Hargett '25

Which specific clinic are you involved in, and what sort of work are you currently doing in the clinic?

I'm currently a clinic student at the Loyola Project for the Innnocent. Within the clinic, I help out with a variety of cases in different stages. This can range from screening a new case, to helping with an investigation plan, to going out and speaking to witnesses. We also visit prisons to speak to clients. It’s a really rewarding and exciting experience being a part of LPI, especially for someone like me who is passionate about human issues and how they interact with the law.

 How has the clinic experience benefitted your legal education?

My LPI experience has hands-down made my time in law school more well-rounded and meaningful. Loyola’s clinic offerings give students the unique and incredible chance of getting real life advocacy experience early in your legal career. Even after one year in the clinics, I have a much more comprehensive and in-depth understanding our legal system and how it affects the lives of countless individuals. Getting to assist with work that actually makes a difference reinforces why I decided to go to law school in the first place. 

What are some skills you've gained/honed in your clinic?

1L is great in that it lays a necessary foundation, but it can feel really conceptual — I often found myself asking, how does all of this apply to the real world? LPI has given me valuable answers to these questions. I’ve gained many helpful legal skills, like learning about the exoneration and habeus corpus process; I’ve also improved my multi-tasking skills by working on a variety of cases that are in vastly different stages. Beyond this, LPI has really encouraged me to approach legal work with an empathetic and humanistic understanding. LPI works to exonerate wrongfully convicted people; behind each letter we receive is a human being, and it’s important to never lose touch of that. This clinic has really shown me what it’s like to approach the problems in our legal system with a sense of compassion.

Would you recommend the clinic experience for other law students? If so, why? 

I would absolutely recommend the clinic experience. Loyola is so special in that we have all these chances to get involved; the clinics really inspired me to apply here in the first place. I can’t imagine my time in law school without the depth and excitement that the clinics have added to my education.