Duration: Full year course
Credits: 8 credits (4 credits per semester/letter grade)

Students in the Juvenile Defender Clinic will represent children charged with delinquency offenses in Juvenile Court. Clinic students will handle all aspects of delinquency cases from arraignment through trial. Students may also represent clients in related proceedings, such as probation revocation hearings, CHINS cases, and administrative proceedings with the Department of Youth Services or the Department of Children and Families.

Students in this clinic will learn a wide range of lawyering skills, with a heavy focus on developing and maintaining a professional relationship with adolescent clients and their families. Students will develop a variety of litigation skills, including interviewing clients and witnesses, conducting full investigations, motion and discovery practice, and plea negotiating. Additionally, students will appear on the record in court and may represent clients in bail hearings, pre-trial suppression hearings, probation violation hearings, and jury and bench trials.

In working on the cases, students will learn about the social work, mental health, and medical fields and how to collaborate effectively with professionals from these disciplines. Students will work closely with the clinic’s Social Work Supervisor and with social work students from Bridgewater State College. JDC students may also work with students from the Education Advocacy Clinic on suspension/expulsion or special education cases involving shared clients. The clinic also employs two post-graduate fellows who will work with students on a number of juvenile justice policy issues and on their cases in court. Students will submit reflective journal entries on a weekly basis.

JDC students will also be required to keep at least one day per week free for court appearances. Dependent upon case demands more time may be necessary; therefore, students are encouraged to keep as many mornings free as possible.

Although Evidence is the only prerequisite course, completion of Trial Practice, Children and the Law, and Criminal Procedure are recommended.

Questions: Contact Professor Kim McLaurin