Section Description Provided by Instructor
This is a yearlong clinic and students will be registered in both the Fall and Spring terms.
The Adolescent Representation Clinic represents youth and young adults on collateral issues relating to their aging out of foster care or other institutional settings. Most of these clients range in age from 16 to 23. The issues involved extend across a broad spectrum of need and may include housing and homelessness prevention; teen pregnancy and parenting; health and health benefits; income and support benefits; education, tuition and financial aid benefits; financial planning; civil rights including LGBTQ issues; job training and career planning; identify theft and credit; and inheritance. Students paired in teams will represent clients referred from the Juvenile Rights Practice of the Legal Aid Society, Lawyers for Children, foster care agencies and community-based organizations.
The project has four components:
• Seminar in Representing Adolescents: a weekly seminar will focus on the unique attributes of adolescents and young adults as viewed from multiple disciplines including medicine, law, sociology, and psychology. In addition to law students enrolled in the clinic, graduate students from other disciplines may enroll in the seminar portion of the clinic in order to explore adolescence from multiple perspectives. Guest lecturers include advocates, family court judges, youth in foster care, and mental health professionals.
• Class and Simulation Exercises to prepare for casework: students will participate in intensive simulation practice, being introduced to basic lawyering skills including interviewing and counseling, case development and strategy, complex problem solving, and preparation for negotiation or litigation. During September, there will be two additional “boot camp” classes on Fridays to jump start students’ abilities to begin representing clients.
• Client Representation: students will begin to represent clients in mid-October following the intensive introduction to representation. Students will be teamed in pairs for casework. Each team will meet weekly with Professor Spinak for case supervision. Once case representation begins, some portion of the classes devoted to case preparation will be structured for case rounds so that students will be aware of and learn from their colleagues’ cases. Once casework has begun, students should expect to devote at least 20 hours per week to clinic-related activities.
• Law Reform, Education and Policy Work: During the 2013-2014 academic year, the clinic developed “know your rights” presentations and conducted “information or advice only” sessions for young people. These projects may continue into the 2014-2015 academic year. In addition, the clinic is planning on developing a significant housing campaign for youth aging out of foster care based on the housing advocacy several clinic teams conducted during 2013-2014 and the lessons learned from that work. All clinic students will participate in developing and executing this advocacy campaign, which is expected to include policy, lobbying and legislative components.
Students with a wide range of backgrounds and/or ultimate career interests are encouraged to apply. Graduates of the clinic enter public service and private practice careers, frequently using their clinic experience to develop pro bono opportunities in the private sector. Students will focus on their own professional goals for the year, identifying specific skills or professional attributes they would like to develop or enhance in preparation for making the transition into the legal profession. The clinic will encompass professional responsibility and ethical practice issues as well as explorations into the role of law and legal practice in a just society.
Method of Evaluation
J.D. Writing Credit
Admission is by instructor permission during the Clinic application period in the spring - see the Clinic page for more information.
Learning Outcome Goals
No learning outcome goals have been provided.