The Families and the Law Clinic is designed to help students develop lawyering skills while focusing on a particular area of practice: domestic violence and family law. Whether a student is interested in family law issues or another area of law, the Families and the Law Clinic gives individualized instruction in and exposure to many aspects of legal practice. Among the skills developed in the clinic are oral argument, trial advocacy, legal interviewing, witness preparation, client counseling, case preparation, fact investigation, drafting motions and pleadings, and discovery practice.
Students will assist victims of domestic violence in obtaining temporary and permanent restraining orders in D.C. Superior Court. Students may also represent clients in general domestic relations litigation. Cases can address issues such as divorce, custody, visitation, property distribution, and child support. All cases involve emergency protective orders.
In addition to litigation, each student will work on a community project during the course of the semester. Students develop and implement a community legal education program for teens on domestic violence issues in the District of Columbia.
Students are expected to spend 20 hours per week working at the clinic. Three of the hours will be spent attending a weekly seminar class that focuses on skill building, professional responsibility, and substantive domestic violence and domestic relations law. Faculty members meet with students on a weekly basis. Faculty critique students after simulations and after live client counseling and oral advocacy.
Enrollment for three hours is limited to students who have satisfactorily completed a minimum of six credits of CCLS: Families and the Law Clinic, and requires prior approval by professors Barry and Klein. This course is graded, with a pass/fail option. A student may request to do a qualifying portfolio paper that fulfills a portion of the upper-level writing requirement. Refer to Academic Rule X — Writing Requirement and Directed Research.