Justice for Children Practicum
The Justice for Children Practicum provides direct legal representation of children and their interests. The objective of the Practicum is not to represent a large number of clients, but instead to assemble a selection of cases that provides students with an opportunity to learn an ethical and strong legal practice model. The Practicum's clients benefit from the fact that participating students represent a limited number of clients per semester and immediately receive feedback from faculty.
During its history, the Justice for Children Practicum has represented over 400 clients. By being diligent investigators of the facts, and by being zealous and aggressive advocates, students in the Practicum have obtained positive results for their clients and have begun to improve the quality of representation afforded all children.
That commitment to the client has led many of our students to stay on after the semester has ended to handle their cases. Some have stayed on for a second semester earning independent study credit, others have volunteered their time for no credit during winter break or the summer while studying for the bar. We are very proud of the number of our former clinic students who have continued to represent children in a variety of legal cases.
The Justice for Children Practicum is a one-semester course open to eligible third-year law students. Certified by the Ohio Supreme Court as Legal Interns pursuant to Rule II of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio, students represent clients under faculty supervision in a variety of proceedings implicating the rights of children. These may include abuse and neglect, delinquency, status offense, judicial bypass, domestic, adoption, immigration, and termination of parental rights cases.
Interns work with their clients at all stages of the representation and participate in pretrial hearings and at trial. Students have also drafted appellate briefs in two cases: In Re Elliot (brief, opinion), and In Re T.V. (brief, opinion).
The four-hour classroom component of the course provides students with an opportunity to learn lawyering skills within a substantive context while developing an approach to the thoughtful and ethical practice of law. Students also discuss their cases in class and in weekly case round meetings. This case discussion creates additional opportunities to explore strategic and ethical issues.
The four-credit, one-semester course is offered every year and is open only to those law students who have completed at least two-thirds of their legal education and have been certified by the Dean of the Moritz College of Law to meet all academic and ethical standards.
Children and the Law is not a prerequisite but students may find the course helpful to their understanding of the material in the Practicum. Students seeking the new Certificate in Children Studies must take the Justice for Children Practicum.