Clinic Experience Helped Carrie Hagan-Gray ’05 Find Her Niche
Carrie Hagan-Gray ’05 has lived, studied, and worked across over the country. Born in Kansas but raised in Oregon, Hagan-Gray decided to return to her home state for college. She settled upon the University of Kansas, majoring in women’s studies and sociology. She then attended UC Law, starting as an Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights Fellow. Eventually, Hagan-Gray served as senior articles editor with Portfolio for the Human Rights Quarterly and worked closely with Professor Bert Lockwood.
During her first summer of law school, she took advantage of her fellowship and worked as a human rights team intern and law clerk at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission in Auckland, New Zealand. Throughout her second year at UC Law, she worked as a law clerk with the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati. This job was balanced against summer positions at Manley Burke, a small Cincinnati law firm.
Working at Legal Aid A Good Fit
Following graduation from UC Law and passing the bar, Hagan-Gray returned to Legal Aid as a staff family law attorney. She also became the supervising attorney of the Domestic Violence & Civil Protection Order Clinic at Legal Aid, which operates in collaboration with the College of Law. Hagan-Gray worked alongside clinic director Margaret Drew and says she really valued that experience. “Professor Drew is a wonderful person and a fantastic mentor,” she commented. Her influence on Hagan-Gray’s career would be felt for some time.
After two-and-one-half years with Legal Aid and numerous experiences, she took six months leave to care for her newborn son, Eamon. But the impact of working at the clinic had begun to shape her thoughts about the future.
Hagan-Gray really enjoyed her experience working at the clinic, particularly collaborating with students and soaking up the academic atmosphere. Following her leave, Hagan-Gray decided to seek another clinic-related experience. “Legal Aid viewed the position of clinic supervisor as a rotating position for interested staff attorneys, which is how I ended up being considered for the position in the first place,” she said. “So I knew I would have to look elsewhere to find a long term clinic position. But Legal Aid is all about growth, so they allowed me to take a leave of absence for a year, with the option to return should I not be able to find anything. I was really grateful for that opportunity and their understanding.”
During that year, Hagan-Gray moved to Rhode Island, where she accepted a one-year visiting professorship at Roger Williams University School of Law. There, she took over the Community Justice and Legal Assistance Clinic (CJLA), which has since been transformed into an Immigration Clinic. The CJLA had an open case load of family law cases, so she had the opportunity to create a new, family-law related clinic. Hagan-Gray chose to focus the clinic on domestic violence because of the great experience she believes it offers students. “Domestic violence cases are a great vehicle for students,” says Hagan-Gray. “They get comfortable practicing in a small area of law, which gives them a lot of confidence in their own litigation skills.” Roger Williams found a permanent director for the clinic, so Hagan-Gray’s position was dissolved.
Cross Country Move Opens Door to New Job
During her time in Rhode Island, and with the expectation that she would be there only for a year, Hagan-Gray searched the job market for yet another clinical experience. One opened up at the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. She was offered position as clinical associate professor of law. Today, she is one of two professors heading up the law school’s Civil Practice Clinic. While domestic violence and family law are part of the experience, the Clinic’s overall focus is more broad. But Hagan-Gray enjoys this aspect of the clinic, stating she still has the opportunity to work on those areas she knows well, but is able to learn about different case law.
Hagan-Gray’s husband, Keith, is a fellow UC Law alum. A JD/PhD candidate at UC, he is working on a doctorate in political science and is preparing to write his dissertation. While the couple enjoys exploring Indianapolis, they especially like spending time at the Children’s Museum. “Most of all,” said Hagan-Gray, “I really enjoy Indianapolis’s proximity to UC. I really enjoyed being at the law school and I am very happy to be close to Cincinnati again, to be able to see former classmates and professors.”