Former Clinic Student Delivers Arguments Before North Dakota Supreme Court
Less than three weeks after he was sworn in as an attorney, former University of North Dakota Clinical Education Program (“Law Clinic”) student Chris Lindblad found himself preparing for not one, but two arguments before the North Dakota Supreme Court.
Chris graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law in the spring of 2008 and was admitted to practice law in the State of North Dakota on September 15, 2008. On October 6th, he appeared before the North Dakota Supreme Court to argue an appeal of a criminal conviction. The following day, he made another appearance before the North Dakota Supreme Court to present argument on a child support appeal.
However, this was not the first time Chris has found himself arguing in court on behalf of clients. As a certified student attorney enrolled in the Clinical Education Program during both semesters of his third year of law school, Chris had previously presented oral argument before East Central Judicial District Judge Steven McCullough on appeal in which Chris and his Law Clinic case team successfully obtained an order reversing a Workforce Safety and Insurance decision to effectively cut off the client’s benefits.
In his time with the Law Clinic, Chris developed client advocacy and professional skills by drafting motions, engaging in client counseling, taking and defending depositions, negotiating with opposing counsel, and anticipating ethical dilemmas. Chris attributes his ability to prepare for and enjoy his arguments before the North Dakota Supreme Court to the intense responsibility he accepted and consistent feedback he received as a Clinic student.
“The lessons I learned and experience I gained during my semesters in the Law Clinic proved to be invaluable as I tackled the task of preparing and delivering arguments before the Supreme Court,” Chris said. “When I first learned that I would be appearing before the Supreme Court twice in the span of less than twenty four hours, I was a little nervous, to say the least. However, I was confident that my hard work in the Law Clinic had sufficiently prepared me for the challenge ahead.”
“The time I spent in the Law Clinic was a truly rewarding educational experience,” Chris said. “While typical law school classes provide students with the tools necessary to interpret statutes and case law, the Law Clinic gives students the extraordinary opportunity to interact with clients faced with a wide variety of legal problems and to apply your knowledge of the law to affect positive changes in the lives of your clients.”
“Professors Jackson and Schaffzin are terrific mentors.” Chris said. “The environment in the Clinic is truly unique in that it encourages students, sometimes with very different perspectives, to work as a team to develop strategies to solve difficult legal problems. Reflecting back on my experience in the Law Clinic, I truly appreciate the lessons I learned and the close relationships I formed. There is no doubt in my mind that participating in the Law Clinic would be of great benefit to any law student who seeks to gain valuable ‘real world’ experience prior to graduation.”
Subsequent to his two Supreme Court appearances, which were done on a contract basis for another firm, Chris began working as an associate attorney at the Larson Latham Huettl law office in Bismarck.