On October 31st, at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, Senior Clinical Instructor Nnena E.J. Odim was honored by the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as one of their 2013 Top Women of the Law.
Please read the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly featured story below:
While balancing her practice as an attorney and her role as a clinical instructor keeps Nnena E.J. Odim quite busy, she keeps doing it because at the end of the day, she feels she has made a difference for her clients and helped to shape the next generation of attorneys.
Odim, who joined the WilmerHale Legal Services Center at Harvard in 1997, handles family, domestic violence, and LGBT cases. She supervises law students as they work with clients, draft documents and participate in court proceedings.
Odim tries to take on as many cases as she can, knowing that she is often the last resort for many. “If I don’t take their case, they oftentimes go into court unrepresented, and I feel…they don’t get as much justice as they do when they are represented,” she says.
As an instructor, Odim teaches students not just what to do, but also how to do it, with professionalism, ethics and compassion.
“It’s not just about knowing the law,” she says. “They can read that in a book. It’s really how to apply that, how to work with clients, how to listen to them, how to not be judgmental or paternalistic.”
Odim directs the legal arm of the Passageway Health Law Collaborative, a partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital that provides legal and social work services to domestic violence victims. She also participates in the Lawyers for the Day Program and the Volunteer Lawyers Project’s Senior Partners for Justice.
Odim says she is motivated in part by her belief that everyone deserves access to justice. Her desire to increase access was one reason she left a career as a personal trainer in order to go to law school.
“I really felt like I wanted to do more, and I wanted to do more for people who couldn’t do it for themselves,” she says. “This is the way I thought I could make the biggest impact. I haven’t looked back. I love it.”