Serving the community's most vulnerable citizens
The Civitas ChildLaw Clinic represents children in a variety of settings, focusing primarily on child protection (abuse and neglect) and high-conflict parenting disputes. Other areas of practice include education, immigration, delinquency, and international child abduction.
As a student clinician, you'll work on at least two cases during the course of a semester, under the supervision of at least one member of the clinic faculty. The Clinic also includes a weekly seminar, which addresses relevant substantive law, advocacy skills, and ethical issues in the representation of children. You are expected to master the law governing your areas of practice, as well as applicable rules of professional conduct. And, you will gain experience with a range of lawyering skills, including client counseling, case planning, and written and oral advocacy. While the subject matter of the Clinic's cases focuses on children's issues, you can expect to develop skills transferrable to any practice setting.
Participation in the Clinic requires both a significant time commitment and flexibility in your schedule. All students are expected to attend and conduct court appearances throughout the semester and to attend to other client business during regular working hours. Students working full or nearly full time, or students who have concerns about their ability to maintain a flexible schedule, should speak with one of the members of the Clinic faculty before enrolling in the class. In addition, to avoid conflicts of interest, students may not participate in the Clinic while working for the criminal or juvenile divisions of the State's Attorney's Office or the juvenile division of the Cook County Public Defender's Office.
Enrollment in the clinic is limited to 16 students. Priority is given first to students in their final year of law school, and then to other students with eligibility for a student practice license under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711. Permission of the Clinic instructors is required for enrollment. Civitas ChildLaw Clinic Application. Students in the Clinic for the first time must enroll for four credits and will be expected to participate fully in the classroom component. Students enrolling for a second semester will be expected to participate bi-weekly in the seminar; normally, students repeating the Clinic for a second semester take the course for three credits, but other options are available with permission of the instructor.