Youth and Education Law Project: Clinical Methods
The Youth and Education Law Project offers students the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of educational rights and reform work, including direct representation of youth and families in special education and school discipline matters, community outreach and education, school reform litigation, and/or policy research and advocacy. All students have an opportunity to represent elementary and high school students with disabilities in special education proceedings, to represent students in school discipline proceedings, or to work with community groups in advocating for the provision of better and more equitable educational opportunities to their children. In addition, the clinic may pursue a specific policy research and advocacy project that will result in a written policy brief and policy proposal. Students working on special education matters have the opportunity to handle all aspects of their clients' cases. Students working in this area interview and counsel clients, investigate and develop facts, work with medical and mental health professionals and experts, conduct legal and educational research, create case plans, and represent clients at individual education program (IEP) team meetings, mediation or special education due process hearings. This work offers students a chance to study the relationship between individual special education advocacy and system-wide reform efforts such as impact litigation. Students working on school discipline matters interview and counsel clients, investigate and develop facts, interview witnesses, conduct legal and educational research, create case plan, and represent clients at school discipline hearings such as expulsion hearings. Such hearings provide the opportunity to present oral and written argument, examine witnesses, and present evidence before a hearing officer. If appropriate and necessary, such proceedings also present the opportunity to represent students on appeal before the school district board of trustees or the county board of education. The education clinic includes two or three mandatory training sessions to be held at the beginning of the term, a weekly seminar that focuses on legal skills and issues in law and education policy, regular case review, and a one hour weekly meeting with the clinic instructor. Admission is by consent of instructor. Beginning with the 2009-2010 academic year, each of the Law School's clinical courses is being offered on a full-time basis for 12 credits.