First Client Experience

​Walking into the Housing & Community Development Legal Clinic I did not know what to expect from the clinic or from the clients. The first couple days of class were exciting; Professor Lawton talked to us about our clients and asked us to choose the clients we wanted to work with. I chose to work with Housing Cooperative Corporations because they were the ones that sounded most interesting to me.

The previous groups, who had worked with my new clients before, advised us that one of the clients tends to be non-responsive, while our other client is more responsive and responsible. After being told this about both clients, going into our first meeting, I expected it to be a smooth introduction amongst all of us. But instead, our first client meeting was an experience that I will never forget. The beginning of the meeting started off well with an introduction amongst all of us, as well as discussing the priorities our client had for the semester. But towards the ending of our meeting our client, in essence, decided to drop a bomb on us and casually told us that their maintenance man had advised them that they might have lead in their water, and that they will need to have all the pipes of their home replaced. Hearing this at our first client meeting my partner and I panicked because we did not know how to deal with a situation like this. Knowing that we couldn’t panic in front of the client, we immediately advised them that they should get the city to test the water of the home for lead, as well as have several licensed plumbers inspect the pipes and give estimates for replacing all of the pipes.

After our client meeting my partner and I immediately emailed Professor Lawton with a caption saying “Client Emergency”. Professor Lawton then proceeded to calm us down and told us how to take it step by step. Since then we have calmed down and have been following up with our client regarding lead being in their water as well as conducting thorough research for them. To us they are no longer the non-responsive clients because they have been effectively responsive so far, and we now refer to them as our most interesting and exciting client because at each meeting we don’t know what to expect from them.