Course Description

601:796. CHILDREN’S JUSTICE CLINIC (4 or 6, as designated ) S


LE: 8

         Prerequisite: Completion of 56 course credits and the courses in Evidence and Professional Responsibility.

Recommended: Juvenile Law, Trial Advocacy, Criminal Procedure.

Exclusion: Students may not simultaneously enroll in the law school's Externship Program or another clinic and the Children's Rights Clinic.

Special Note: In addition to scheduled class meetings, students in the course must also be available at times other than the scheduled class hours to attend hearings (approximately 3-6 times per semester), meet with clients, classmates, and the supervising clinical attorney and social workers, and must have some flexibility in their schedules to permit them to accommodate these additional time demands.

Focuses on the skills necessary for client representation, the ethical issues that arise in cases, and the roles of attorney and counselor. Students represent juvenile clients in delinquency hearings, sentencing and post-disposition review, and associated legal matters. Clinical faculty supervise.

Students work with a partner and undertake all steps necessary to prepare for court hearings, including interviewing clients, reviewing court documents from related cases or prior proceedings, making strategic decisions, and drafting motions, briefs, and other documents as needed. Typically, these briefs are under ten pages, but must be prepared in only a few days. These situations provide students with an additional and valuable learning experience about the realities of trial practice. Students also make all necessary court appearances, under the New Jersey Third Year Practice Rule.

In addition to providing legal representation in juvenile court, teams identify aggravating factors in the client's home, school or community environment; and identify and make referrals to other law school, campus, or community based services that can address problems well beyond the scope of the delinquency system. There is also a community education component, in which student teams provide education to their clients about their rights and the implications of their involvement in the juvenile justice system. The whole-client approach optomises outcomes for individual clients. 

In addition to developing their criminal trial practice skills, students learn how to integrate a systemic best practice perspective into individual representation.