Touro Law Offers New Child Advocacy Clinic

Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center opened a new Child Advocacy Clinic that will provide free legal representation to children involved in Family Court proceedings.

“This clinic provides both legal services for our neighbors that require them and invaluable hands-on experiences for law students,” stated Touro Law Dean Harry Ballan.

The clinic will be staffed by supervised upper-level law students, who, operating under a special court order, will represent children and parents in abuse and neglect cases. Students will handle issues involving allegations ranging from physical and sexual abuse to educational neglect, as well as inadequate supervision; and cases dealing with delinquency; custody disputes; domestic violence cases; and termination of parental rights.

Clinic students will work on all facets of each case: conducting discovery, hearings and full trials, appeals and motion practice, as well as negotiating settlements and formulating dispositional plans. Outside of court, students will maintain regular contact with their clients, investigate the factual allegations made in the case, formulate realistic and compassionate plans for clients and their families, work closely with mental health professionals, caseworkers, teachers, law enforcement professionals, foster parents to ensure that their clients’ needs are being met.

“I am proud to be leading this new clinic at Touro,” Clinic Director Danielle Schwager said. “While training students to practice in this critically important area of law, we are also helping those who truly need our help. The students are delving into the inner workings of the courthouse and the courtroom.  They are interacting with the judiciary, practicing lawyers and court staff.  It’s exciting to watch them learn and grow from week to week and become staunch advocates for their clients.” 

Students in the clinic will spend one full day a week in court and spend at least a dozen hours each week meeting with clients and preparing their cases. All work is done under close faculty supervision.

“The clinic has been fantastic,” Third-year student Christopher Brogna said. “I have always been interested in family law and the practical aspects of practicing in this area of law. There is a difference between talking about the things that go on and seeing them occur in real time right in front of you. I am confident that the clinic will make an impact on my legal career.”


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Tyler Roberts is an editor for The National Jurist. You can follow him on Twitter at @wtyelrroberts