Selena Martinez is a third-year student at McGeorge School of Law. 

I decided to go to law school to help others within my community. I never wanted anyone to feel they could not help themselves out of a bad situation. It was not until after attending McGeorge School of Law that I realized there was a legal clinic to serve the underrepresented Sacramento community. Given the wide variety of options to get involved, I ultimately decided to go into Bankruptcy Law to help others receive a fresh start and learn how to manage their funds properly. I have always been interested in business, and bankruptcy is a great segway to attain a Business Concentration.

I have been fortunate throughout my law school career to participate in the Bankruptcy Clinic as a certified law student, a work-study employee, and now as a Team Lead for the fall 2023 semester. The Bankruptcy Clinic is an excellent opportunity for hands-on experience working with clients. My clients have been so grateful for the Clinic’s help and services, allowing them to regain their footing.

The Clinic primarily deals with Chapter 7 Bankruptcies, known as the “fresh start.” Chapter 7 is generally for individuals with consumer debts and the quickest way for the debtor to receive a discharge. The debtor’s assets are then liquidated to pay their creditors, and the entire process usually takes about four months.

Throughout my involvement with the Bankruptcy Clinic, I have helped two clients receive their discharge and assisted in all aspects of their cases. I interviewed, counseled, and represented clients before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Eastern District of California. Participating in the Meeting of the Creditors with the Trustee and gaining knowledge in reaffirmation hearings has been an asset in obtaining other employment opportunities.

The Clinic allows you to draw on your experiences in the classroom and refine your skills for practical experience. I have taken the knowledge I have learned in the Bankruptcy course and Client Interviewing and Counseling and have been able to exercise my skill set during my interviews with clients and during the Meeting of the Creditors. Community Legal Services provides McGeorge students with a safe space to achieve practical experience and help represent indigent individuals within our community.

I have had such a positive experience within the Clinic. Professor Warren Jones, the supervising attorney for the Bankruptcy Clinic, has extensively mentored me and other students. I highly recommend getting involved with the Bankruptcy Clinic or any clinic; it has been the highlight of my law school career.

By Selena Martinez, a third-year student at McGeorge School of Law.