Chicago Lawyer Magazine Highlights Mandel Clinic

University of Chicago: Making a difference in law school
Josh Wolff
Chicago Lawyer
September 17, 2009

Dana M. Davenport was just a second-year law student at the University of Chicago Law School when she began using the law to make a difference in the lives of others.

She had started to work with the school's Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, and one of her first cases was the classic example of an adolescent being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Her 17-year-old client was charged with being an accessory to armed robbery - even though he never held a gun during the incident, Davenport said.

She helped represent the teen, who was charged as an adult, and eventually persuaded him to participate in the four-month Cook County Sheriff's Boot Camp instead of going to jail for three months.

His co-defendant argued that three months of jail was better than four months of boot camp, but Davenport stressed the life skills that the boot camp could teach. He chose that path.

While there, the teen attended vocational classes, obtained his GED, and received weekly visits from Davenport - she even visited him while studying for the bar exam.

Davenport talked to him about his talents and interest in computers, bringing him information about computers and how he could turn his interests into a career.

He credited her for his drastic change and even invited her, her Mandel Clinic professor, and the clinic's social worker to his boot camp graduation.

 

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