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Spring 2023 Seminar

Litigating in the Family Courts: Domestic Violence and Family Law Clinical Seminar

Required Clinic Component: Litigating in the Family Courts: Domestic Violence and Family Law Clinic (3-5 spring clinical credits). This clinic and course are bundled; your enrollment in the clinic will automatically enroll you in this course.

Additional Co-/Pre-Requisites: None.

By Permission: No.

Add/Drop Deadline: December 2, 2022.

LLM Students: LLM students may apply to the clinic through the LLM General Clinic Application.

The Family/Domestic Violence Law clinical course provides students who are concurrently enrolled in the Legal Services Center Family/Domestic Violence Law Clinic, with the practical skills and substantive knowledge necessary to effectively advocate for their clients in and out of the courtroom. Objectives of the course include: developing practical lawyering skills to be applied in the clinical component and beyond; understanding the statutory and case law applicable in family law litigation; enhancing student understanding of the professional roles, values, and ethics involved in the practice of law; gaining insight into the unique challenges of low-income clients and victims of domestic violence; as well as analyzing and proposing legal advocacy approaches to contemporary family law issues. The course emphasizes a collaborative health-law approach to advocating for our client populations.

This course is hands-on and group-oriented. Most classes involve both small and large-group exercises and discussions. Throughout the course, students work on a hypothetical case from the initial client interview through the final disposition of the case. In a series of simulated group exercises, students conduct in-depth interviews with the client, write memoranda, prepare case and client theories, argue for and defend against Motions, manage discovery, counsel the client as the facts of the case evolve, engage in settlement negotiations on the client’s behalf, and reflect on ethical issues encountered during the course of representation. In addition, students will prepare a memorandum and conduct a substantive presentation on one of their active real life cases at the Legal Services Center, and will lead class discussion on the case and on the larger ethical and legal questions it presents. There is no final examination or final paper for this course. Students will be evaluated based on their preparation for, and participation in, class exercises and discussions.

Due to the litigation emphasis of the clinics and court-related schedules, students enrolled in this course are strongly encouraged to enroll for 4 or 5 clinical credits, however, students who can only enroll for 3 credits will be accommodated.

Please keep in mind that most court hearings and trials take place starting at 8:30 or 9am. It’s recommended that you arrange your schedule to have as much morning availability as possible, in order to maximize your court-related opportunities. In addition, having a block of three or more hours is better than trying to come to the Center for fewer hours at one time.