Two partners at a Philadelphia area law firm who took part in clinical programs while students at Rutgers Law in Camden, have made a donation to the law school that will allow for a complete makeover of one of the clinic interview rooms.
John H. Shindle and Brian Hall, of Ward, Shindle & Hall, made the generous donation this school year and in their honor, the interview room will be named after them. The goal of the renovation is to make the room more suitable for interviewing clients who have experienced trauma by replacing the sterile gray walls and desk with light blue paint, a sofa and armchairs, adjustable lighting, artwork, and a children’s play area.
Joanne Gottesman, who directs the clinical program at Rutgers Law School in Camden, says the improvements were inspired by a desire to achieve and teach best practices in representing clients. “Our clinics cover a wide range of substantive areas of law, but one of the things our clients share is that they come to the clinics seeking help during one of the most stressful periods of their lives. The Ward, Shindle & Hall Clinic Interview Room will be a space that will encourage our clients to feel safe when sharing their stories.”
Rutgers Law has 21 clinical programs serving the greater communities of Camden and Newark. The clinics in Camden include Child and Family Advocacy, Children’s Justice, Civil Practice (Veterans Advocacy Project), Domestic Violence, Entrepreneurship, Immigrant Justice, and a Mortgage Foreclosure clinic.
Both lawyers said they were inspired to donate, in part because of the positive experiences they had while taking part in the clinical program during law school. Shindle said he worked in the Civil Practice and Advanced Civil Practice Clinic and called it “one of the best learning experiences I had in law school.” Hall said he participated in the Children’s Justice Clinic in 2012 where he represented two separate clients in juvenile court and successfully secured the release of one from juvenile detention. “Seeing him go home after court that day was pretty satisfying,” he recalled.
They added that the clinical programs gave them valuable experience while they were in law school. Shindle said, “I recognize what a great opportunity it is for the community to be able to obtain pro bono representation and for law students to gain firsthand experience in representing clients and handling real life legal matters.” Hall added that being part of a clinic helped prepare him to be “on his feet” early in his legal career.
Founding partners at a firm in West Deptford that specializes in a variety of civil areas, including estate planning, estate litigation, estate administration, corporate law, real estate, workers’ compensation, personal injury and civil litigation, the lawyers both said they had a positive experience while attending Rutgers Law School. Rutgers is small enough that you get a personal experience and the opportunity to make close friends,” said Hall. “Yet it has the resources of a large university such as great networking opportunities, name recognition, and a strong alumni group.” Shindle said besides getting firsthand experience working with clients, through the clinic and pro bono opportunities, he made valuable connections through law school that helped him with internships, clerkships and future employment.
In addition to donating to the clinical program, the partners also offer paid internships in the summer and during the school year at their law firm for Rutgers Law students to gain hands-on experience. Hall’s advice to other alumni is, “It is rewarding to give back to the school that provided you with the education necessary to be successful. Give back now. You don’t have to wait until you are able dedicate an entire new wing or a library to the school. Every small amount counts.”