Passion for activism leads to UC Law student’s DV Clinic experience

Woman in professional attire smiling at camera

For second-year law student Morgan Mitchell, the move to Cincinnati, Ohio, from San Diego, California, was a bit of a transition. However, her experience at the College of Law has made the move worth it, and the Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic helped reinforce it.

“I originally studied journalism,” Mitchell says, “but I felt like I was reporting on activism instead of being an activist.”

Mitchell came to UC for the joint degree program, which allows her to pursue her law degree in addition to a master’s degree in women’s, gender and sexuality studies.

“The joint program provides a different lens for me to do the work I do in law school, and gives me a unique perspective on things.”

Mitchell’s experience with the clinic allowed her to work with civil law and help women by attaining protection orders against their abusers.

“For me, it was really interesting to see legal advocacy outside of the criminal legal system; and the clinic throws you right into the work, so I was able to make an immediate impact because of how hands-on the experience is.”

The rewarding moments come when the clients express how thankful they are for all the work we did.

Morgan Mitchell

The hands-on clinic provided both frustrating and gratifying moments for Mitchell. For her, reviewing evidence can be a difficult and draining task, as it captures the violence the clients faced on a regular basis.

But it’s not all bad, as she says “the rewarding moments come when the clients express how thankful they are for all the work we did, especially after we formed such a close relationship with them.”

This experience, along with others at UC, reinforce Mitchell’s decision to study law in the Midwest.

“The school was just really inviting and welcoming, and I’ve enjoyed my time here so far in the joint degree program,” she says.

In her master’s program, Mitchell is writing a thesis focused on the intersection of how immigration and labor laws affect women migrant farmworkers. This past summer, she conducted research with a justice organization that works with women farmworkers who deal with sexual assault and harassment in their workplace.

“That intersection is so interesting to me,” she says, “and I’m glad I have the opportunity to explore labor law along with civil law.”

Looking forward, she still wants to work with survivors of domestic violence and abuse, but is unsure if she wants to do it through labor law or civil protection law.

“I’ve got a few options on the horizon, but in any case, I’m excited to do the work I’ve been practicing, and I look forward to helping out as many people as I can.”

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