Advocating for the Young and Poor

The judge calls court to order and asks the Suffolk student why his client shouldn’t be locked up pending trial. The student is ready. She knows how important it is for her client to remain at home –and in school. He’s only 13.

Defending children in Boston Juvenile Court -- in bail, pre-trial suppression, and probation hearings, as well as jury and bench trials -- is only one lawyering skill students learn in this clinic.

Multi-Skills

Students may also represent youth in CHINS cases or in proceedings with state agencies.  They study and use the rules of procedure and discovery; master the details of evidence, the criminal code, and Constitutional law; and investigate their cases in the depth. And throughout it all, they learn how to develop an ongoing professional relationship with their client and client’s family.

Collaborative Effort

The JDC uses a multi-disciplinary approach. Students collaborate with the clinic’s social work supervisor and with master of social work candidates from Bridgewater State College. They also may work with mental health specialists or students from Suffolk’s Education Advocacy Clinic.

Students should keep at least one morning a week (actually, as many as possible) free for court appearances. Weekly reflective journal entries are required. Evidence is the only prerequisite course, but Trial Practice, Children and the Law, and Criminal Procedure are recommended.

  • Full-year course
  • 8 credits (4 credits per semester/letter grade)
  • Contact:  Kim McLaurin, associate clinical professor, kmclaurin@suffolk.edu