Civil Practice Clinic Student Stories

Brooke Eastburn
Legal Aid Clinic

Brooke fought to reinstate unemployment benefits for a local client who was terminated for failing to meet his employer’s expectations. “This was the first case for which I was 100 percent responsible. It was possible that I wasn’t going to win. This man depended on me, so I completely over prepared. I interviewed him three times. I took 45 minutes to prep him for a five-minute testimony.”


Brad Brickhouse

Legal Aid Clinic

Brad's client had missed a lot of work because of a severe medical condition that he had communicated to his supervisor and documented thoroughly. Brad methodically condensed the paperwork and medical records into an articulate argument presented before the Unemployment Administration. He won.


Emily Dunn

Legal Aid Clinic

Emily helped a client win back the unemployment benefits an employer unfairly denied. Emily simplified the statutes and information involved in the case, developed a defense for her client and won the case in court. "Our classes and professors instill in us the confidence we need to successfully represent our clients. I was able to use that confidence to my client’s benefit in vindicating her case." 


Tracy Hasse

Civil Practice Clinic

Tracy's client, a hardworking and conscientious hotel employee, was denied her unemployment benefits because her termination included an allegation of employee misconduct. According to Hasse, her client experienced an extraordinary set of obstacles that kept from her completing her daily tasks. Even though she stayed late and off-the-clock to finish cleaning her allotted rooms, she was terminated when some of the rooms were found unfinished. Hasse argued on her client's behalf, and her unemployment were benefits reinstated.


Melissa Hudgins
Civil Practice Clinic

Hudgins represented a single mother of three whose Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits were terminated. The client received this sanction because she allegedly violated the program’s requirements. For Hudgins, the invaluable part of her work was learning to see the process from her client’s perspective. “My client had to report to a number of case workers who did not accurately inform her of how she could prevent the sanctioning process or have her benefits reinstated. Her documents were mishandled and she was treated as just another case number. Without an advocate, the process would be overwhelmingly frustrating, intimidating and stifling for anyone in my client's shoes.” Hudgins won the case.


Valerie Johnson

Civil Practice Clinic

In her first case, Valerie represented a disabled man who was denied Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, which provides funds to needy recipients for purchasing food. Johnson discovered that her client’s income was misappropriated on his verification paperwork. Johnson was thrilled with the ruling in her client’s favor.


Ben Willis

Civil Practice Clinic

Ben’s clients, referred by a local Legal Aid office, sought legal assistance after being denied food stamp benefits from the local Department of Human Services. DHS declared the client ineligible for food stamp benefits because she was an "able-bodied" adult capable of working the minimum 20 hours needed to satisfy the work requirement of the Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Manual. In reality, the client was unable to find and retain lasting employment as a direct result of severe impairments. Willis successfully represented the client at a hearing and the DHS reinstated full benefits.

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