Published on February 26, 2024 by Sofia Paglioni  
legal clinic experience DR02082024686

At Samford University Cumberland School of Law, students put into practice the knowledge and skills they’ve learned in their classes through clinical opportunities. Through these opportunities, students engage core pillars of law school’s mission, including public service, professionalism and community.

Cumberland School of Law offers a variety of clinics for students to receive real world experience. The Cumberland Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic (C-VETS) provides free legal assistance to veterans and their families in the state of Alabama. With the supervision of a licensed attorney, students may contact someone on the veteran’s behalf, write a letter, refer the matter to another legal assistance program or outside attorney or be involved in the representation of the veteran because the clinic has decided to take the veteran’s case. This clinic served 185 clients in 2023.

Claiborne Crommelin, a student advocate in the veterans’ clinic, commented on his experience. He shared, “Working alongside clients, professors and other student advocates, I have realized just how impactful the service we provide can be. My experience has been humbling and fulfilling, from first introducing myself to clients to seeing their relief and gratitude once their matter has been fully resolved. I know I will look back on my experience with C-VETS proudly and I hope to be able to provide any support I can during my future career.”

Other clinics offer opportunities for students to pursue specific career callings within the legal field. The Cumberland Innocence Clinic helps investigative and secure counsel in cases of factual innocence resulting from Alabama convictions. In this clinic, students review criminal case records, investigate facts and interview witnesses, draft legal claims and research avenues of relief. Students may also have opportunities to draft pleadings and pitch cases to pro bono counsel.

Rolanda Tina Turner, a third-year law student, commented on her experience. She said, "The Innocence Clinic has been an unparalleled experience that has reshaped my understanding of justice and humanity. Having served in the clinic twice, I've come to realize the misconception of judging a book by its cover. Delving into the minutiae of cases, from studying prejudice in the courtroom to unraveling the complexities of individual stories, has fundamentally changed how I perceive people and their life circumstances.”

During the fall 2023 semester, Cumberland School of Law students had the opportunity to experience firsthand the important and humbling task of helping incarcerated individuals be granted parole through a partnership with Alabama-based nonprofit, Cumberland Parole Clinic. The Cumberland Parole Clinic’s mission is to identify, assist and represent incarcerated individuals, typically aged or medically infirmed, who are deemed to have earned parole or work release. Through her externship with the organization, Sydney Moore, a second-year student at Cumberland School of Law, recently won parole for a client. Moore said, “Through this program and my externship, I have been able to gain valuable skills and knowledge regarding the parole and work release systems in Alabama and client advocacy.

Support Cumberland School of Law's Clinical Programs

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.