Legislation and Policy Clinic

This four-credit clinical course is offered in the fall, with students able to enroll for a second semester for three credits. The Clinic is open to full-time students in their second or third year of law school and to part-time upper division students whose schedules permit them to participate in Clinic activities. Working under the supervision of Clinic faculty, students study the legislative process and participate in policy and legislative development, analysis, advocacy, and implementation.

Learning outcomes for Clinic students include:

  • Learn the legislative process along with a sophisticated understanding of political realities associated with the process;
  • Understand the potential impact of legislation as well as its limitations;
  • Develop skills in critiquing legislation, assessing a legislative problem, researching the problem, proposing solutions, and drafting materials and presenting information orally—all essential components of legislative advocacy.
  • Participate in an ongoing advocacy initiative.
  • Develop future leaders in child welfare reform.

Clinic faculty and students have worked on an array of issues including recognition of the rights of siblings in foster care to contact with one another; criteria for revocation of private guardianship of children; development of procedures for expungement of juvenile arrest records; examination of the governance structure of urban public schools; identification of laws, policy, and best practices regarding youth adjudicated for sex offenses; lead poisoning prevention. Clinic work may be done on behalf of community-based organizations, multi-party coalitions, task forces, the Civitas ChildLaw Center, or other entities. Partners on past and current projects include state legislators, government decision makers, advocates, and a range of organizations including:

  • Center for Tax and Budget Accountability
  • Children’s Defense Fund
  • Families’ and Children’s AIDS Network
  • Illinois Association of Realtors®
  • Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
  • Illinois Department of Public Health
  • Illinois Educational Facilities Task Force
  • Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission
  • Illinois Lead Safe Housing Task Force
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Illinois Statewide Foster Youth Advisory Council
  • Juvenile Justice Initiative
  • Metropolitan Tenants Organization
  • Project NIA