Holistic Youth Defense Clinic

Holistic Youth Defense Clinic

Clinic members meet during the spring of 2021

Holistic Youth Defense Clinic

The Holistic Youth Defense Clinic provides students an opportunity to practice holistic and zealous lawyering by representing juvenile clients on delinquency matters, as well as related school discipline and special education matters, in order to help keep youth in their homes, schools and communities with appropriate supports.

During the 2023-24 school year, this clinic will be offered in the spring 2024 semester only. Students will represent indigent juvenile clients in misdemeanor and felony delinquency cases, special education matters and school discipline hearings under close faculty supervision. Typical delinquency charges include assault and battery, petit and grand larceny, as well as various types of offenses referred to court from schools. Enrolled clinic students will hone their practical skills while integrating their knowledge of substantive law. Students will engage in discovery practice, interview clients and witnesses, brainstorm case strategy, conduct legal research and fact investigation, draft pleadings and work product, prepare clients and witnesses for trial, negotiate with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, discuss plea offers with clients, and counsel clients. Students with third-year practice certificates will represent clients at hearings and trials. In addition, clinic students will critically examine the purpose, motives, outcomes, and shortcomings of the juvenile justice system. They will analyze broader systemic issues, examine how justice systems impact the clients they serve and reflect upon opportunities for reform. Students will learn to provide holistic client-centered and client-driven representation. 

The positions that the clinic takes on behalf of its clients are independent of the views of the University of Virginia or the School of Law.

Skills Taught
Client/witness interviewing, fact investigation, legal research and analysis, case planning, oral and written advocacy, plea negotiation, client counseling, and developing strong client relationships and professionalism skills
Course Length
Semester-long (fall and spring)
Course Credits

Students Negotiate Better Outcomes for Youth Clients in Inaugural Clinic

Professor Crystal Shin ’10 Directs New Holistic Juvenile Defense Clinic