Academics: Professional Training

Child Advocacy Clinic


In the yearlong clinic, offered in conjunction with the JustChildren Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center, students represent low-income children statewide who need legal representation.

The clinic includes two semesters of supervised legal representation of children, supported by a weekly clinical seminar that meets during the fall semester. Though the majority of legal work will involve the representation of clients in the juvenile justice system or children being denied legally mandated educational opportunities, students may also represent children in cases involving immigration, services for incarcerated children, mental health and developmental disabilities law, and foster care and social services law. Students in the clinic gather information and conduct legal research to analyze their client’s legal situation. Students also represent children in negotiations and administrative hearings and participate in court proceedings to the extent permitted by law. All students have the opportunity to work on policy issues affecting children.

Opportunities to work on impact litigation also may arise during the year. During the fall and spring semesters, students meet weekly in small groups with their supervising attorneys, and individually as needed. The supervising attorneys accompany students to all administrative and/or court hearings. Supervision will be provided by Professor Block (eight students) and attorneys with the JustChildren program (eight students) in Charlottesville. The seminar meets weekly during the fall semester only and provides students with an understanding of the legal obstacles confronting low-income children, the various legal systems settings in which the students will practice, and generalized instruction regarding the representation of children. During the spring semester the entire class meets occasionally to review cases and hear guest lectures. Students engage in casework throughout the year.

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