Child Welfare/Family Justice Clinic (CWC)

Who can apply? Rising 2Ls and 3Ls
Pre or Co-requisite Course(s): Evidence
Suggested Course(s): Criminal Procedure and any Family Law related courses
Is the program year-long or semester-long? Year-long
How many credits? 8, upon completion of full year-long course

*Clinic orientation occurs the week prior to regularly scheduled fall classes. Please see your clinic schedule to determine which day you need to return to campus in August.

Howard Law’s Child Welfare Clinic (CWC) is designed to introduce students to a broad array of advocacy and advisory skills and substantive law to enable them to provide direct legal representation to parents who have or are alleged to have neglected or abused their children in a way that has resulted in state intervention.

The Clinic is an eight (8) credit, year-long course and enrolls up to 12 students per year. Admission preference will be given to those students currently participating in our previously established Family Law Certificate Program.

CWC combines classroom instruction with case work. Students will attend three hours of classroom instruction per week, to include the necessary law, legal, ethical and advocacy training and skills required to successfully represent adults involved in child abuse and neglect cases, including Client Interviewing Skills, Trial Advocacy Skills, Family Division Practices and Procedures, DC Rules of Professional Conduct, DC Code Title 16 and Child Abuse & Neglect Attorney Practice Standards. Classes will also include case rounds, analysis of ethical, strategic and client representation issues, litigation planning and litigation skill development. Students will work on cases appointed to the Clinic by the Family Court Division of the District of Columbia Superior Court and accepted by the Supervising Attorney. Students will work on actual court matters with assignments to include interviewing clients by telephone and in person, case analysis and adherence to Child Abuse and Neglect Practice Standards.

Case work includes factual investigation and research of various issues and claims, court appearances, team meetings with other service providers, and community outreach projects, as well as research and preparation of pleadings, motions, memoranda and oral arguments on relevant pending cases. Students staff the intake system (which is an integral component of the clinical program at Howard Law) by devoting in-office hours each week to the Clinic and which include interviewing and triage of requests for representation which come from write-ins, walk-ins, e-mails via our clinical program’s Web site, and referrals from outside organizations.