Rhodes Part of UW Student Legal Team Making History

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UW students Brent Rhodes, middle, a third-year law student from Rock Springs, and second-year law student Jennifer Dean from Cleveland, Ohio, left, won a jury trial with the aid of Civil Legal Services Faculty Director Danielle Cover, a UW College of Law associate professor. (UW College of Law Photo)

LARAMIE – Rock Springs resident and University of Wyoming Law School student Brent Rhodes was part of a student legal team that recently made history.

Rhodes was lead counsel on the team that successfully defended a client during a recent jury trial — the first jury trial victory for students in any of the college’s eight clinics.

Rhodes, a third-year law student at UW, was joined by Jennifer Dean, a second-year law student from Cleveland, Ohio. Together they concluded a two-day jury trial successfully preventing the termination of parental rights for an incarcerated individual. The case was in Laramie County District Court. Judge Steven Sharpe presided over the proceedings.

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At the request of the court, UW’s Civil Legal Services Clinic began representing the client at the end of 2019 and brought the case to its conclusion with the jury siding in the client’s favor.

Their client initially planned to appear for himself before Rhodes and Dean stepped in. Under a condensed time frame, the two had “little room for error,” according to Civil Legal Services Faculty Director Danielle Cover, a UW College of Law associate professor.

Rhodes is also the student director for the clinic.

“The whole experience was overwhelming but very rewarding. One of the most impactful and unexpected moments for me was the palpable feeling of emotions in the courtroom,” Rhodes says. “It left an impression on me right up to the moment when the jury read the final verdict. The overall experience was unmatched. I have always assumed I wanted to do civil litigation but, after this experience, I’m pretty confident it is what I want to do for the rest of my career.”