JD/WGSS Program Provides Context and Perspective for Lee Serbin
“During law school it has been important for me to maintain connections with the communities I hope to serve,” said Lee Serbin’14, a student currently completing UC Law’s joint degree program. “The JD/MA program has allowed me to do so.” Serbin grew up in Avon Lake, Ohio before attending college at the University of Vermont and The Ohio State University. At OSU she studied Women’s Studies and Sociology. After graduating, she stayed in Columbus to work for two years before coming to UC Law.
“UC’s joint degree program with law and WGSS was the first in the nation and UC Law’s size and location was a good fit for me,” she explained of her decision to come to UC. The JD/MA program takes four years to complete; thus, Serbin finished her MA this past summer and will graduate with both a JD and a MA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies this May.
Serbin praised the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice Center while describing what she enjoys about the school. “The programming the Center presents is really important in giving context and urgency to what we learn in law school,” she said, additionally noting that the Center’s programming has been relevant to her MA degree studies.
Honing Her Legal Skills
She has a variety of legal experiences already under her belt as she nears graduation. During her first summer she interned with the Ohio Justice and Policy Center in Cincinnati. She shared that she really enjoyed working with wonderful people there on important issues. “Interning with OJPC illustrated the impact of policy and law on individual lives.” She has also participated in an externship with the family law team at The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, where she conducted interviews to support Legal Aid attorneys, accompanied her supervisor to community meetings addressing domestic violence in the Greater Cincinnati area, and performed legal research for family law cases. Last summer she worked at the Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI) in Maryland. She explained that SALI provides legal services to survivors of sexual assault and also provides legal training and technical assistance to professionals who work with survivors. “The great variety of work that SALI does exposed me to many different types of law and illustrated the huge impact sexual assault has on the lives of survivors and their families,” said Serbin. As an intern she was the first point of contact for survivors seeking legal assistance, and through this she was able to hone her client counseling skills. With her limited practice license, she was also able to represent clients in protection order hearings with UC Law’s Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic.
“The professors involved are wonderful and provide support and encouragement,” said Serbin of her experience in the joint degree program. “It is a lot of work and requires a great deal of dedication and focus,” she continued, “but a joint degree can provide additional context and perspective to legal studies that can be very valuable to critical analysis.”