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Youth and Education Law Project

Overview

“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.”

                          -Horace Mann (1796-1859)

 

Stanford Law School students – who have themselves typically had positive and rich educational opportunities –  have a long history of working with disadvantaged youth and their communities to ensure that they, too, have access to equal and excellent educational opportunities.  As early as 1986, interested Stanford Law School students spent their time doing this critical, ground-breaking civil rights work at the former East Palo Alto Community Law Project.

Today, all students at Stanford Law School have the opportunity to engage in a dynamic blend of education law work such as school reform litigation, policy advocacy work, and direct client services through the Youth and Education Law Project, a part of the Mills Legal Clinic.

Under the direction of Professor Bill Koski (PhD '03) and Lecturer in Law Carly Munson, students represent youth and families in special education and school discipline matters, school reform litigation, policy research and projects, and other education-related advocacy.

Whether filing a class-action lawsuit to prevent a local school district from unlawfully excluding students from school without providing them their constitutional right to a hearing, advocating for a preschooler with autism in a mediation to ensure that he receives appropriate educational services, or drafting a policy brief that seeks to improve the delivery of mental health services to youth with disabilities, students in the Clinic are exposed to a wide range of educational policy reform and advocacy work. 

Moreover, through their hands-on work and case ownership, students practice and hone critical lawyering skills such as client interviewing and counseling, fact investigation, theory development and refinement, successful negotiation planning and execution, oral and written advocacy techniques, and a plethora of other case planning, development, and management strategies and skills.

 

"In addition to developing first-rate lawyering skills such as client counseling, negotiation, and oral advocacy, students in the Clinic are given the opportunity to take ownership of their cases and projects, reflect on their practice, and develop the critical quality of sound professional judgment."

        -Professor Bill Koski (PhD '03), Director, Youth and Education Law Project