Joy Radice is an associate professor in the College of Law. She works with second- and third-year law students in the advocacy and expungement clinics. The advocacy clinic serves clients who cannot afford legal representation in a range of cases involving criminal, housing, and juvenile law; the expungement clinic assists individuals in removing eligible charges from their juvenile or adult criminal record.
“It’s the best job because I am able to be a lawyer and a teacher. It is simply inspiring to supervise students on their very first cases. They grow dramatically in one semester as they represent real clients.”
The UT Legal Clinic, the longest continuously running clinic in the country, is a fully functioning law firm on campus. Radice and her students meet with clients to prepare for their court cases, negotiate with opposing counsel, and appear in court for hearings before judges. During the semester, she can often be found in court with the students, sometimes going between multiple courtrooms.
Why this field
Radice grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Queens, New York, where her father worked for the New York Police Department and her mother was a schoolteacher. Radice lived in an area with a lot of immigrants, like her Italian grandmother, and she watched them struggle with jobs, public assistance, and poor housing conditions.
She wanted to do something to help.
“I saw the law as a set of tools that you could then use to empower such communities.”
Most people don’t know
Radice met her husband, James Stovall, in law school and during their second year they welcomed their daughter, Emma, into the world. They were preparing for a final in an evidence class when Radice went into labor.
“My water broke at around 2 a.m., and I called my doctor to ask if I could take my 8 a.m. exam because my contractions hadn’t started.”
She was told to skip the exam and get to the hospital immediately.
“As we came into the emergency room I could hear the nurses say, ‘That’s the woman who wanted to take her law school exam.’”
To this day, Radice still wishes she had taken the exam, because it was her worst grade in law school.
When she’s not in the courtroom or classroom, Radice sits on the board of two organizations.
One, the Clinical Legal Education Association, is the national organization that advocates for increasing clinical opportunities for law students. CLEA has worked to change the national accreditation standards to require that all law schools offer experiential opportunities for their students.
“Legal education has changed dramatically over the past decade. My role on the CLEA board allows me to be a part of the current national discussion about how law schools can best train law students for legal practice.”
She also serves on the Children’s International Summer Village board. The CISV Smoky Mountain Chapter sends delegations of Knoxville-area adolescents, ages 11 to 18, to summer camps internationally where they work with young people from a dozen other countries. The program began soon after World War II to promote peace education and teach youth to be better global citizens.
All of Radice’s children—Emma, 17, Spencer, 14, and Ben, 12— have participated in the program.
Advice to her college-age self
Radice has been thinking about college advice a lot lately because her oldest child, Emma, is applying to colleges.
She plans to tell her daughter to be open to new and unexpected opportunities.
“You don’t have to plan every step of the way. The most incredible things that can happen to you may very well be unplanned and unpredictable. That has been my experience throughout my life.”