Devlin Joyce brings a wealth of experience as both a practitioner and a legal educator.
Kate Devlin Joyce has joined Boston University School of Law as director of externship program. As a former Equal Justice Works fellow and director of public interest and then externship programs at Boston College Law School, Devlin Joyce brings a wealth of experience as both a practitioner and a legal educator.
Devlin Joyce sees externships as a means of integrating doctrinal and experiential teaching. “Externships offer students the opportunity to gain experience and put into practice what they’ve learned in the classroom,” she says. That connection between the theory and the practice of law is essential to legal education, Devlin Joyce notes. Providing real opportunities to work in the field and learn from more senior and practiced attorneys allows students to “see how the law works in a real-life setting.” They learn not only fundamental lawyering skills, but “how to network and connect with their community.”
Devlin Joyce uses civil procedure as an example. “We all take it in our first year, but it’s so theoretical and can be difficult for some students to grasp until they see it in practice,” she says, “but once they do, the light bulbs go off and they suddenly understand what the professor was talking about in a real, concrete way. That’s the benefit of experiential education.”
Before joining BU Law over the summer, Devlin Joyce directed externships at BC Law. During her tenure, she grew the program to include over 15 externship programs and introduced a model of tethered externships in which a cohort of students in a doctrinal class—for example in health or intellectual property law—were placed in externships in that field. The cohort would meet periodically with the professor and discuss what they were learning in class and how it related to the practice in their externships.
Prior to her work with externships, Devlin Joyce directed public interest programs at both BC and BU Law. She was an Equal Justice Works fellow and practiced immigration and asylum law where she represented clients in VAWA, U-, and T-visa asylum, and family cases. She continues her international involvement as a family support person for family members of hostages through Hostage US. She remains active in Haiti Plunge, an organization she has been involved with since 1991.
As the director of BU Law’s externship program, Devlin Joyce intends to build on the already successful externship offerings for judicial, corporate counsel, federal agency, nonprofit, and other placements. By the end of the fall semester alone, students will have provided 11,120 hours of pro bono legal services to courts, government, and nonprofit organizations. Hoping to tap into the school’s network of alumni, Devlin Joyce will look to expand opportunities for students by connecting them with alumni in all industries and locations. “The more alumni we have as supervising attorneys will make the experience and connections for our students stronger,” she says.
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