MSU College of Law

Cadence Custin

IT Analyst, TEKsystems

2015 | Baltimore, MD

James Madison University| Bachelor of Music, Music Industry

“I chose the Prisoners' Rights Clinic because I have a strong belief in all US citizens' civil rights, and I wanted the experience of defending those citizens whose rights were infringed upon.”

Cadence Custin participated in MSU College of Law’s Prisoner’s Rights Clinic and the Conflict Resolution Clinic. “I chose the Prisoners' Rights Clinic because I have a strong belief in all US citizens' civil rights, and I wanted the experience of defending those citizens whose rights were infringed upon,” she said. “For the Conflict Resolution Clinic, I chose to participate because I love ADR, especially mediation. I had already been doing volunteer work that closely paralleled what the clinicians were doing, so I decided it made sense for me to participate as well.”

Cadence described her experiences at the clinics as practical and educational. “Clinics provide you with a great opportunity to work with real clients in a setting akin to a law firm, and thanks to the wide variety of clinics MSU Law maintains, it's very easy to get this experience in a field you enjoy or intend to work in when you graduate,” she said.

At the Prisoners' Rights Clinic, Cadence completed client interviews, drafted submissions to the court, prepared for and performed depositions, located and worked with expert witnesses. She also created exhibits, performed legal research and logged her billable hours. In addition, she handled clients' cases at trial together with co-counsel (other clinicians) and with help from supervising attorney Dan Manville.

At the Conflict Resolution Clinic, Cadence received mediator training and then practiced mediation, both solo and with a co-mediator, in cases at local small claims courts. Moreover, she prepared weekly time sheets and self-reflection papers.  She said the work atmosphere at both clinics was friendly among fellow clinicians, honest with her supervising attorney, and tense at times with her clients.

“At the Prisoners' Right Clinic, my most rewarding case was one where I had the opportunity to handle every step of the appellate process: I wrote the Reply Brief, did the oral argument prep, and presented oral argument on behalf of our client before the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati,” Cadence said. “For the Conflict Resolution Clinic, every case is engaging and rewarding in its own way. Really. For me, there's just something magical about helping clients sort out their own problems or, in those cases where they cannot, helping them determine what they want to do and why.”

Cadence said her proudest moment at the clinics was when she stepped down from the podium after delivering oral argument on behalf of her client before the Sixth Circuit. “It was a golden opportunity, and I was proud of my performance,” she said.