OXFORD, Miss.–The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Office of General Counsel selected third year UM Law student Taylor Baronich into their very competitive Legal Honors Program for their 2015-2016 class. Each year the Program selects 10-20 candidates from all over the country to help further HUD’s mission to “create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.” As a member of the Legal Honors Program, Baronich will work in the Office of the General Counsel for HUD, receive continued legal training during that time and be assigned a mentor.
“Through the Housing Clinic (at the UM Law School), I developed a passion for housing law, studied complex legal issues, and learned the critical policy concerns. I believe that these three things I gained through the Housing Clinic—knowledge of the relevant law, understanding of important policy and humanitarian concerns and a bright enthusiasm—are likely what set me apart from other candidates,” says Baronich.
Professor Desiree Hensley, director of the Housing Clinic, is thrilled that Taylor is going to work for the HUD Legal Honors Program. Law graduates who are selected for the Legal Honors Program have the opportunity to become the future leaders in the programs and practice areas in which they work.
“Taylor has the skills, training, commitment and desire to successfully work on the front lines of housing policy in the United States. It’s exciting to imagine that a graduate of UM Law may help shape the way our neighborhoods and communities function in the 21st century.”
Baronich says Professor Desiree Hensley and staff attorney Forrest Jenkins did a phenomenal job of not limiting her work (in the clinic) to narrow issues. By studying all aspects of a case (such as the client’s family dynamic, financial status and legal issue) the Housing Clinic taught her how to seek solutions that not only alleviate a legal problem, but also improve the client’s quality of life.
Associate Dean for the Clinical Programs, Deborah Bell, believes immersion in clinical practice gives students an advantage in pursuing opportunities such as the HUD Honors Program.
“Students in the Housing Clinic leave law school with genuine practice skills and the equivalent of a mentorship with a housing law expert.”
Baronich’s 14-month appointment will be at the HUD Regional Office of Region VI in Fort Worth, Texas. The Program starts off with a week-long training in Washington D.C. with the past and current class of HUD legal honors recipients.