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Students presenting their research at clinic's summit event

The Education Law Clinic is part of a program called the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI), a nationally recognized collaboration between Harvard Law School and Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC), whose mission is to ensure that children impacted by family violence and other adverse childhood experiences succeed in school.

To achieve this mission, TLPI uses multiple strategies to seek remedies for individual children, as well as laws and policies that provide schools with the knowledge and resources they need to meet the needs of all children. TLPI’s advocacy is based on interdisciplinary research and collaboration across a wide array of professional disciplines: education, psychology, neurobiology, medicine, social work, and public policy. Students in the Education Law Clinic help further TLPI’s mission by employing knowledge from these fields to advance the interests of traumatized children through legal representation and in the policy arena.

The clinic focuses on different education law strategies during the fall and spring semesters .

  • Individual Representation

    Students in the Education Law Clinic: Individual Representation provide direct representation to parents/guardians whose children have been affected by family violence or other adverse experiences and who are not getting the special education services they need. Students receive direct one-to-one mentorship and develop a working knowledge of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Massachusetts special education laws.

    Students also:

    • interview and counsel client;
    • conduct factual investigation and legal research;
    • develop case strategies;
    • collect and analyze school records;
    • draft discovery and pleadings;
    • work with experts; and
    • negotiate with school personnel at team meetings.

    In cases scheduled for full administrative hearings, students appear for pre-hearing motions and conduct direct and cross-examinations of witnesses. In addition to learning the basic knowledge and skills associated with special education practice, clinical students gain an understanding of the impact that trauma from exposure to violence can have on a student’s learning and behavior and then factor this understanding into the analysis of a child’s special education needs. The legal remedies law students obtain through their representation have a tremendous positive impact on the lives of individual children.

  • Strategic Litigation

    Students in the Education Law Clinic: Strategic Litigation participate in projects that utilize TLPI’s multiple advocacy strategies (legislative advocacy, administrative advocacy, community outreach, report writing, coalition building, and media strategies) in order to transform systems that affect the lives of children and families.

    Past students have:

    • organized legislative briefings at the Massachusetts State House on the impact of trauma on learning;
    • helped draft legislation;
    • made presentations to expert evaluators and child welfare attorneys on special education law;
    • organized a domestic violence shelter outreach program; and
    • collaborated in a statewide legislative campaign to promote children’s mental health.
  • Legislative & Administrative Lawyering

    Students in the Education Law Clinic: Legislative & Administrative Lawyering will participate directly in TLPI’s ongoing multi-strategic advocacy campaign for antiracist, healing-centered, trauma-sensitive schools in Massachusetts. Students will learn by doing state-level legislative and administrative lawyering work that furthers TLPI’s mission, with particular attention paid to elevating the voices of impacted students. In Spring 2021, students in the clinic launched a website called Students Speak, which showcases advocacy and actions by Massachusetts high school students, and clinic students will continue to build on this work going forward. Specific activities will vary depending on the semester, but have included: supporting secondary school students to testify at the Massachusetts legislature and before other public bodies; meeting directly with members of the legislature, the education bureaucracy, and their staff; organizing a legislative briefing; organizing a statewide, day-long Youth Summit; drafting and distributing media advisories, op-eds, and press releases; communicating with and rallying constituents to advocate with their lawmakers; organizing an agenda for and participating in a coalition meeting; using branding and media as strategies for effectively conveying a message; using empirical research as part of an advocacy strategy; and drafting legislation.

Watch: A School’s Journey Toward Trauma Sensitivity

How to Register

The Education Law Clinic is offered in the Fall and Spring semester. You can learn about the required clinical course component, additional requirements, and the clinical registration process, by reading the course catalog description and exploring the links in this section.

Meet the Instructors

Michael Gregory lecturing at an event

Michael Gregory

Clinical Professor of Law

23 Everett Street, 2nd Flr.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Michael Gregory is Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where he serves as the faculty director of the Youth Advocacy & Policy Lab, and teaches and practices law as part of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI). TLPI is a partnership between Harvard Law School and Massachusetts Advocates for Children. TLPI’s mission is to ensure that children traumatized by exposure to violence succeed in school. Prof. Gregory is a co-author of both volumes of TLPI’s landmark report Helping Traumatized Children Learn, and is also a co-author of Educational Rights of Children Affected by Homelessness and/or Domestic Violence, a manual for child advocates. At HLS, Prof. Gregory teaches the Education Law Clinic, in which law students represent individual families of traumatized children in the special education system and engage in systemic advocacy in education reform at the state level. In conjunction with the clinic, he teaches the seminars “Education Advocacy and Systemic Change: Children at Risk” and “Legislative Lawyering in Education Law.” Prof. Gregory has also taught Education Law and Policy and Education Reform Movements.

Prof. Gregory received his JD from Harvard Law School in 2004, graduating cum laude. He also graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in American Civilization from Brown University in 1998, and received a Master of Arts in Teaching, also from Brown University, in 1999. He was the recipient of a Skadden Fellowship in 2004.

headshot of Jodi Guinn

Jodi Guinn

Clinical Instructor

23 Everett Street, 2nd Flr.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Jodi Guinn is a Clinical Instructor in the Education Law Clinic and a Lecturer on Law. Prior to joining Harvard Law School, Jodi worked as an education attorney at the Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts, a subsidiary of South Coastal Counties Legal Services, where she represented low-income students and families in special education and school discipline matters on the South Coast of Massachusetts. Her work focused on identifying and breaking down individual and systemic barriers to equitable education for all students. Before joining the Justice Center, Jodi had a Skirnick/One Day’s Work Fellowship at Massachusetts Advocates for Children, where she advocated for older students between the ages of 14-22 to receive the special education transition supports to which they were entitled under federal and state law, to prepare them for employment, independent living, and postsecondary education. Jodi also clerked for the Honorable Cynthia Cohen of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Prior to law school, Jodi worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA at YouthBuild USA, an organization which supports youth between the ages of 16-24, who do not have high school diplomas and are not employed, to further their education and develop job skills while becoming leaders in their communities.

Headshot of Bettina Neuefeind

Bettina Neuefeind

Senior Attorney and Helpline Manager

23 Everett Street, 2nd Flr.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Bettina Neuefeind is an attorney with the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative. As a longtime direct services attorney and advocate for culture change around trauma, mental health and schools, Bettina assists families of children exposed to trauma in obtaining appropriate educational services, supports the clinical education of law students, and collaborates with the leadership team on achieving systemic progress growing the safe and supportive school culture movement.

Prior to joining TLPI, Bettina was a Research Fellow at Harvard Law School investigating what fuels systems change in anti-poverty work, and an affiliate at Harvard’s Food Law and Policy Clinic, where she led the School Food Interventions project and focused on food literacy education and school food culture overhauls in applied settings. Before coming to Harvard, Bettina was a fair housing attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid in Oakland, California, serving low-income clients with disabilities and specializing in accommodations where housing was threatened due to mental health issues. Bettina received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. She clerked for the Honorable Daniel T.K. Hurley of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and for the Honorable Susan S. Beck, Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Court of Appeals.

Staff Members

Anne EisnerInterim Director of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI)
Marissa del RosarioTrauma Sensitive School Specialist (Massachusetts Advocates for Children)
Alexander JaramilloProgram Administrator, Youth Advocacy & Policy

In the News

  • Featured image for Making systemic and individual change in the Education Law Clinic article

    Making systemic and individual change in the Education Law Clinic

    By Brian Dezurick ’23 When I was growing up in Nashua, New Hampshire, I wanted to be a teacher. As a once challenging (read: nightmarish) student, I remember how impactful some of my teachers were in completely changing the trajectory of my academic career (shoutout to Mr. Johnson). However, after observing at a high school

    May 3, 2023

  • Featured image for Celebrating the inaugural class of the Youth Advocacy Fellows Program article

    Celebrating the inaugural class of the Youth Advocacy Fellows Program

    On April 12, the Youth Advocacy & Policy Lab (Y-Lab) celebrated the ten graduating students from the inaugural class of the Youth Advocacy Fellows Program. The Program began this year as an immersive experience for second- and third-year students wishing to gain deep expertise in child advocacy through legal clinics and coursework. “It is exciting to be

    April 18, 2023

  • Become a Child Advocacy Fellow! Applications Due August 8

    We are pleased to announce a new academic program for students interested in the field of child advocacy.  The Child Advocacy Fellows Program is an intensive and immersive educational program for second- and third-year Harvard Law School students wishing to gain deep expertise on issues affecting children and youth, with a social justice and anti-racist

    July 18, 2022

  • Experts of their own experiences

    By Olivia Klein On April 19, students from high schools across Massachusetts gathered at Harvard Law School to share their experiences, connect with one another, and devise strategies for change at their schools. The day, organized and hosted by the Education Law Clinic and Advocates for Education at HLS, included spoken word poetry, student-led sessions on

    April 29, 2022

  • Q&A with 2022 Skadden Fellows

    By Olivia Klein  The Skadden Fellowship, which launched in 1988, offers young lawyers two-year fellowships to pursue public interest law on a full-time basis. The Skadden Foundation aims to expand the legal services available to economically disadvantaged communities by supporting newly graduated lawyers to pursue work they are passionate about, and to help them establish long

    April 4, 2022