By Jocie Klocke
The role of a lawyer is extremely important.
That was the major takeaway for rising 3L law students, Katie Landfried and Mark Timmerman after they successfully represented two defendants charged by the City of Ferguson with failure-to-comply during demonstrations there after the death of Michael Brown.
The students didn’t go without accrediting their success to their supervisor, Professor John Ammann, who is one of the supervisors in the SLU LAW Litigation Clinic.
“John is an embodiment of the Jesuit mission,” said Timmerman. “He demonstrates to his students how to love people while using the practice of law.”
Timmerman also said that it was his advice at the beginning of the semester that helped him overcome some of the nerves during the challenging moments of the case.
“John told us that throughout the semester we will find ourselves in high-pressured situations where we feel like we are lost in a pitch-black cave,” Timmerman recalled, “He said we should not fear those moments, because we can not only rely on the support and help from the people surrounding us, like himself, but we can also trust in our own preparedness and abilities to do more than we think we can.”
Landfried agreed, saying that her experiences working with Ammann have been the highlight of her law school career. She describes him as a person that is quick to get down to business and strategize, but also as someone who would never miss an opportunity to teach his students life-lessons and provide them with the confidence they need to be successful in the courtroom.
“The Ferguson trials were firsts for both Mark and me, but every day we went into court we felt confident, prepared, and knew that John was supporting us the entire way,” she said. “The clinic experiences, specifically our Ferguson cases, were some of the best experiences I have had, and I think that was in large part to John’s guidance and support.”
Both Landfried and Timmerman will continue their work in providing a voice and bringing change to those who need it in both the Ferguson and in the St. Louis Community. Landfried will be in Ammann’s Civil Litigation Clinic again in the fall and will be handling some subsequent matters dealing with Ferguson cases. Timmerman plans to stay rooted in the work of Forward Through Ferguson, a group dedicated to implementing the Ferguson Commission’s Calls to Action and being a catalyst for the infrastructure needed to make lasting positive change in the St. Louis region as outlined by the Ferguson Commission report.
“These trials definitely solidified my desire to be in a courtroom and reinforced my purpose for becoming a lawyer,” said Landfried. “No matter what type of law I practice in the future, I am driven by getting to be the voice for a client who needs help navigating the legal process.”
The case strengthened Timmerman’s love for public interest work and his desire to share his voice as well, “After graduation from SLU LAW, I hope to have a legal job that allows me to join my voice with marginalized communities fighting for equity, advocate for people’s civil rights, and also work towards reforming our society’s policies and practices that currently make it so hard for certain communities to thrive and experience justice in our country.”