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Advocating for Justice Beyond the Courtroom

Steven Chaplar ’19, David Secor ’19, Claudia Espinoza ’19 CLAS and Creighton Ward (a student from Bryn Mawr College)
Steven Chaplar ’19, David Secor ’19, Claudia Espinoza ’19 CLAS and Creighton Ward (a student from Bryn Mawr College)

An attorney’s work for their clients often goes beyond the courtroom, as David Secor ’19 learned during his time with Villanova Law’s Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic (FLAC). Through his work with FLAC, Secor gained hands-on legal training while representing real clients on critical legal issues.

“Working with Villanova Law’s Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic and farmworkers in Pennsylvania has been a formative part of my law school experience,” said David Secor ’19, a third-year student. “It was amazing to collaborate with other Villanova Law students and work as a team with an incomparable group of interpreters and clinic staff.”

FLAC represents agricultural workers seeking redress for issues including wage theft, workers compensation, dangerous working conditions, unemployment and retaliatory discharge, as well as asylum and visa applications. “Villanova’s clinical program offers students an amazing opportunity to put what they learn in class into practice, and achieve important results for their clients,” said Secor.

Under the direction of a full-time faculty member, students working in Villanova Law’s six in-house clinics earn credit while serving as the primary advocates for their clients—interviewing, counseling, negotiating agreements, structuring deals, drafting legal documents and appearing in court. Student clinic interns gain invaluable hands-on experience, while at the same time helping underserved members of the community, many of whom would otherwise not receive legal representation.

Prior to coming to Villanova Law, Secor worked for two years with the nonprofit National Rural Health Association in Washington, D.C., advocating for better health services and community health education in rural and underserved areas across the country, including farmworker and migrant communities. It was important to Secor to continue this type of work, and when searching for and applying to law school, Villanova’s clinical program caught his eye.

As a FLAC student attorney, Secor has learned that a lawyer’s work often extends to listening to a person’s story and learning more about their community, to sharing and explaining the relevant aspects of the law, to representing a client in court.

Following graduation, Secor hopes to continue working with and advocating for immigrants and underserved communities. He is currently externing with the National Immigrant Justice Center, an immigrants’ rights organization, in Washington, D.C.