David Santacroce discusses how to better prepare students to actually practice law

On a beautiful September day, more than 60 Ann Arbor Rotarians and guests gathered in front of their computers for our weekly meeting. During the social half hour, we discussed:

  • Steve (Imagine the Possibilities!) Pierce’s recent trip to Puerto Rico and musical adventures.
  • Naubinway, which is not only the northern-most port on Lake Michigan, but the largest commercial fishing port on the Great Lakes.
  • The upcoming Golf and Tennis Outing.

At 12:27, Lori Walters cracked the whip and got the meeting started. After the announcements, Tom Strode regaled us with the patriotic song, “America” and Ashish Sarkar inspired us with a short wish for peace. Ingrid Shelton’s musical selection was “Best Day of My Life” performed by the Angel City Chorale.

President Susan Froelich

The birthdays of the week were announced. Announcements were made on behalf of the Veteran’s Committee and the STRIVE Committee. The STRIVE committee is seeking a donation of a laptop to help students in the program (contact Andrea Bare).

The bombshell announcement was that it might be possible for us to start meeting once again in the Union, beginning on Wednesday, October 6. Efforts are underway to make the meetings hybrid meetings. That is to say, members could either attend in person or via Zoom. Stay tuned for further developments. And don’t forget to answer the poll questions pertaining to this announcement in your Ann Arbor Rotarian newsletter! Other announcements included:

  • The next Adopt-a-Highway trash pickup, which will take place on Saturday, October 2, from 9:00 am until 11:30 am. Contact Tom Millard for more information.
  • Recruiting has begun for the Rotaract mentorship program. Contact Dennis Powers for more information if you would like to become a mentor to a promising young college student.
  • Collyer Smith

    A Huron River cleanup project will take place on Saturday, September 25. Contact Dawn Johnson for more information on this.

  • Members to give the Inspirational Welcome to the club at Wednesday meetings are needed! Contact Mary Steffek-Blaske for more information and to sign up.
  • Literati Bookstore and Rotary District 6380 Present James Tobin. This End Polio Now event will take place virtually on Wednesday, October 20 at 7 pm, with the sponsorship of Literati Books. James Tobin will talk about his book, The Man He Became, that discusses FDR’s challenges with polio. Admission to this virtual event is available by a donation of any amount, and all donations will go directly to Rotary’s End Polio Now initiative.
David Santacroce

At 12:56, President Susan turned the meeting over to Don Duquette, who introduced our speaker, David Santacroce, who is the director of the Civil-Criminal Legal Clinic and president of the Center for the Study of Applied Legal Education (CSALE), a nonprofit corporation housed at the Law School. David spoke to us on how to better prepare legal students for actually practicing law, not just learning about it. He talked a little bit about the history of legal education and how even, today, many law students are not really well-prepared to practice law once they’ve graduated.

To remedy this situation, Santacroce then discussed how U-M addresses this issue. One of the ways, the university does this is by encouraging participation in the Civil-Criminal Legal Clinic. This program gives students experience with real clients with real legal problems, and in the end, better prepares students for the real world.

The University of Michigan currently runs 17 different clinics, and over 80% of U-M’s law students take a legal clinic class. These clinics not only help students become better lawyers, but help people that may not be able to afford legal representation otherwise.