Jennifer Wadhwa (3L) gained experience and confidence participating in the Civil Litigation Clinic at Denver Law last semester. She was part of a team of eight law students representing employees of the JBS Swift meat packing plan in Greeley, Colorado, who are intervenors in an EEOC-initiated action claiming discrimination and retaliation against the employees by the company.” I drafted a portion of our clients’ response to Swift’s motion to dismiss,” Jennifer recounts. “I felt like we just got started on a case that is important. One thing I learned from the experience is that I want to do more.” She will return to the clinic this fall, where she will be an advanced student and continue to work on the Swift case.
Jennifer’s background is in human relations. Before moving to Colorado and entering the Sturm College of Law, she worked in the Bay area for a series of start-up high-tech companies. “My work there was prescriptive. I was trying to reduce my employer’s exposure to liability through sound policies and good practices. As a result, I saw workplace law as a business matter.” Her law school experience has broadened her perspective. “In the clinic, I see the other side. Employers can treat their employees well, but they don’t always do so. Working with the plaintiffs, I see workplace law as a civil rights issue.”
She puts great value on experiential learning opportunities. “First year classes are hard,” Jennifer explains. “You sometimes feel you never know the right answer. In the clinic you get the chance to see yourself as competent. Your client sees you that way, and it re-shapes how you view yourself. You rearrange the paradigm of law school as you proceed through.”
The clinic, says Jennifer, “is where I learned what I like about being a lawyer. It’s when I’m invested in and responsible for my clients. That’s very empowering.”