Dean Hickey is an undergraduate student from the University of York in the United Kingdom going into his 3rd year in the fall and is currently visiting the Thomas Jefferson School of Law to observe the various clinical programs offered at the San Diego based law school. As part of his studies, his clinical supervisor gave him the opportunity to visit Thomas Jefferson School of Law to observe its clinical program for several weeks this summer. “Members of my law school are traveling all around the world this summer to engage with and play a part in strengthening York Law School's links with the global alliance of clinics,” said Hickey. The other students in the University of York program are visiting law schools in India, Chile and France as well as New York. While visiting TJSL, Hickey has worked with students and staff, including Small Business Law Center Director Professor Luz Herrera, Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic Director Professor Steve Berenson and Law Clinic Attorney Professor Becky Nieman. According to Professor Herrera, “The purpose of Dean’s visit is to observe what we do here in the United States to better inform the development of their program at the University of York, School of Law.”
During Hickey’s three week visit to TJSL, he says he “is learning a lot by observing, however, I am actively playing a part in facilitating the work of the clinics where I am able'”
“He has helped provide some input on the self-help clinics I have been setting up (primarily the employee rights self-help clinic),” said Herrera. Hickey gave a presentation on legal education in the UK on Friday, June 28 and had an informal question and answer session with students, staff and faculty. At York Law School, they have adopted a seven-stage process called Problem-Based Learning. PBL involves a problem set in the real-world and includes self-directed study. Hickey says, law students had better do their homework. "If you haven't done the reading," Hickey said, "you'll be asked to leave. So, it's really quite harsh."
After law school, the graduates compete for slots at law firms where they train as solicitors for 18 months at the expense of the firm. "A job is not guaranteed after the training," he said," but many of the firms do hire their trainees." Becoming a barrister is a different career track, according to Hickey. They are solely advocates for clients and it is an incredibly competitive process to become a barrister, which is a very prestigious post, but a shrinking profession due to cuts in legal aid funding.
It was fascinating presentation to hear.
Hickey departs San Diego on July 2, and everyone at TJSL wishes him safe travels!