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The Children's Justice Clinic: Ensuring high-quality legal representation for children through clinical legal education

Juvenile and family law uniquely require interdisciplinary education and experience to balance children's and families' legal rights with their best interests. Clinical legal education provides third-year law students with advanced and applied experience in a specific area of ...

Published onMar 18, 2024
The Children's Justice Clinic: Ensuring high-quality legal representation for children through clinical legal education
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Abstract

Juvenile and family law uniquely require interdisciplinary education and experience to balance children's and families' legal rights with their best interests. Clinical legal education provides third-year law students with advanced and applied experience in a specific area of law to prepare them for legal practice. Recent developments in clinical legal education advance this experience by integrating interdisciplinary experts and reflective practice into clinics. The Children's Justice Clinic is one such clinic that integrates classroom teaching, clinical legal practice, multidisciplinary expert consultation, and reflective practice to train practice-ready Guardians ad Litem. Evaluation results from the first 5 years of the Children's Justice Clinic demonstrates that the Clinic is making progress toward its goals to provide third-year law students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective Guardians Ad Litem, increase interest in child welfare and juvenile law practice among law students, and increase access to high-quality legal representation for children. This paper presents the results from the evaluation and shares lessons learned during clinic development and implementation.

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