Developing a Child Advocacy Law Clinic: A Law School Clinical Legal Education Opportunity

Clinical legal education has become an accepted and integral complement to traditional law school curricula. Professor Duquette argues that clinical education is uniquely able to integrate the teaching of practical skills and legal doctrine, elevating students’ understanding of both. Duquette maintains that a child advocacy law clinic can teach a broad range of practical skill benefit the hosting law school by providing an opportunity for interdisciplinary education as well as a public relations benefit, while simultaneously serving an important need in most communities for quality representation of all parties in child abuse and neglect cases. Most importantly, participation in a child advocacy law clinic has a profound effect on students who must face significant ethical, emotional, and legal issues that require both quick learning and deep reflection. In hopes of aiding other law schools interested in developing a child advocacy clinic Duquette describes the University of Michigan Child Advocacy Law Clinic detailing the selection of cases for the representation of children, parents, and social service agencies, the supervision of students; the classroom component of the curriculum and the staffing and budgeting choices made.