Youth Advocacy Clinic

The Youth Advocacy Clinic provides a unique opportunity for 2L & 3L students to represent children in both delinquency and education matters. Students will interview, advise, and represent clients from the inception of the case and, once-certified, be able to represent clients in court and administrative proceedings. In delinquency matters, the clinic will handle: traditional delinquency cases, juvenile record expungement matters, and Protection From Abuse matters in which minors are defendants. In education matters, the clinic will handle: both informal and formal school discipline matters and special education matters including, but not limited to: identification, evaluation, placement and discipline in the context of students with disabilities.

Both juvenile defense and education law are specialized areas of law, and students will be trained accordingly, with an intensive training period at the beginning of the school year and important trainings throughout the life of the clinic. Students will be the advocates for their clients, but the clinical professor will be present in the courtroom or hearing room at all times while the student is before a judicial or hearing officer.

The clinic will operate as a holistic representation model, with the overall goal of the representation being to meet as many of the client's needs as possible, not solely the single legal issue that brings them to the clinic. The clinic features an ongoing partnership with masters-level social work students from the University of Pittsburgh and doctorate-level school psychology students from Duquesne's School of Education. Students from all disciplines will work in interdisciplinary teams on most cases in order to implement the holistic model. Students will be trained on the model and there will be ongoing assessment throughout the academic year to determine students' learning around the model.

The clinic seeks to keep kids in school and out of detention centers, juvenile justice placements and jail. To that end, the clinic engages in policy and advocacy work around issues pertinent to our clients' cases. When appropriate, the clinic performs community education workshops, attends community meetings and meets with relevant stakeholders to determine ways to provide legal information. Students who take this clinic will be immersed in issues related to dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.

Learn More

Read about all of Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University's clinical legal education programs.