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.
Fall: Direct Client Representation
Students in the fall Clinic 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.
- 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.
Early Drop Deadline: August 4, 2023
Spring: Systemic Advocacy
Spring Clinic students 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.
Early Drop Deadline: November 17, 2023
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
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.
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.
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.
|Anne Eisner||Interim Director of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI)||email@example.com|
|Marissa del Rosario||Trauma Sensitive School Specialist (Massachusetts Advocates for Children)||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Alexander Jaramillo||Program Administrator, Youth Advocacy & Policy Labemail@example.com|
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