Suffolk Law student and May 2017 graduate Cherina Clark was honored as a “Law Student of the Year” by National Jurist magazine. She was one of just 25 students in the country selected for the honor and profiled by the publication. Last year Cherie Ching JD’16 was also named to the list.

In its profile of Clark, National Jurist notes that she was able to manage high-powered internships at the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court (Massachusetts), and the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary (Washington, D.C.), while still remaining active in community service. The magazine highlights a few examples of Clark's service, including her work mentoring first-generation law students; training urban high school students; and “helping to craft legislation to help people in a city (Flint, Michigan) 700 miles away.”

Throughout law school, the publication notes, Clark trained Boston Public Schools teens on Miranda rights, Fourth Amendment/search and seizure, and how to interact with police.

Clark began her service as president of Suffolk Law’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) in 2015. She told the publication that the public school trainings, “in addition to clarifying the high schoolers’ legal rights, provide students with role models. The teens have a chance to interact with successful BLSA members, often from similar backgrounds as themselves, and that relationship leads some to think to themselves, ‘Hey if they can do it, maybe I can too.’”

Clark spearheads the BLSA Peer Mentor Tree Program. The idea, she told National Jurist, is that if a first-generation student has several mentors — a 2L, a 3L and a few alumni, multiple branches of support — someone in that group is going to click with the student. Together, one or more of those mentors stick with a student throughout law school and beyond.

“A lot of first-generation students — and I am one myself — don’t understand what law school is all about," she said. "I meet with my mentees every two weeks and also am texting to see how they’re doing, making sure they have outlines, supplement books, and contacts for resources, because I know someone did it for me."

As a student teacher in the Marshall Brennan program, Clark taught inner-city teens Constitutional Law, including legal arguments surrounding search and seizure and acts of protest (silent, artistic, and otherwise).
At the Supreme Judicial Court, her role was to look at 50 cases to offer her opinion as to which of the cases seemed to warrant appellate review.

Clark worked with the national office of the Black Law Students Association on draft legislation submitted to the State of Michigan to address the Flint water crisis. This effort was important to Clark and other members of BLSA because it affected the greater minority community.

“There is nothing like being able to use the tools I have learned while in law school to effectuate change and advocate for those who cannot or do not know how to do so. BLSA’s contribution to the Flint water crisis was certainly one of those moments where I was able to be a voice for my community,” Clark said.

In 2014, Clark received the Governor’s Citation Award from then-Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick for her work with the NAACP on amicus briefs for civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Suffolk Law Dean of Students Laura Ferrari credits Clark with strengthening the law school’s diverse student orientation program. “The school is indebted to her for her systematic, humane, and practical approach for encouraging success in law school,” Ferrari told National Jurist. “Being a true supporter is hard — it takes time and energy, often when time is scarce and other obligations call. That’s Cherina. Tireless.”