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Education Law Practicum and Youth Justice

University of Tennessee College of Law

1505 W. Cumberland Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37996-1810
Telephone: (865) 974-4141
Fax: (865) 974-6782

In 2008 The Education Law Practicum was inaugurated to provide 2Ls and 3Ls an opportunity to engage in holistic representation of public school students who were being prosecuted for truancy in juvenile court. The course has evolved into a Practicum that focuses on reforming policies and practices—at the intersection of education law and juvenile justice-- that harm children, youth, and families. The Practicum employs a wide range of methods critically to understand and to challenge existing systems and to build better alternatives.

Ten students in the course represent clients in a variety of school- and juvenile court-related matters (including school discipline hearings and special education matters) and develop real-time public interest lawyering projects that tackle issues of educational inequality, racial discrimination, due process in juvenile court proceedings, access to justice, and other current issues in these dynamic fields. The Practicum also collaborates with the Knox County Public Defender’s Office in selected case work.

Child and Family Litigation Clinic

University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

1 North Front Street
Memphis, TN 38103-2189
Telephone: (901) 523-8822 ext. 404
Fax: (901) 543-5087

100% Children's Law

The Child and Family Litigation Clinic develops core legal skills through representing the child in context.

Broadly grouped as "child advocacy," clinic cases offer practice in "holistic" child representation, including: Child abuse and neglect; Foster care; Delinquency; Child custody, paternity, and adoption; Education or mental health; Public benefits, such as TennCare; Any legal forum necessary to meet each child's needs

Student attorneys also experience the variety of roles and responsibilities required: in one case representing a child's best interests; in another representing a child's legal interests or expressed wishes; or in another scenario, representing the child's parent to promote the child's welfare. In addition to developing core legal skills, student attorneys participate in problem-solving, co-counseling, collaboration, meeting facilitation, and multidisciplinary consultation and practice essential in today's global society.

Children's Programs

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands

PO Box 5209
226B Broadway
Jackson Square
Oak Ridge, TN 37831
Phone: (865) 483-8454

300 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37201
Phone: (865) 244-6610

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has several projects for children:

The Juvenile Courts project is located within the Oak Ridge office. Under a unique agreement, the Oak Ridge office collaborates with the juvenile court judges in Anderson and Claiborne Counties. Oak Ridge attorneys accept guardian ad litem (GAL) appointments of children who are having difficulty receiving state services, such as special education or medical care funded by TennCare. Neither the courts nor the private attorneys who usually handle GAL appointments have the expertise to handle the complex issues that arise in these situations. By acting under the authority of the court, LAS attorneys have been able to gain valuable services for highly vulnerable children.

Adams Kirshner Medical-Legal Partnership for Children (MLPC) is a collaboration between the Legal Aid Society and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt to provide free legal aid to low-income patients and their families. The purpose of the MLPC is to improve the health of children by addressing social, economic and physical needs through legal intervention. This program is coordinated out of the the Legal Aid Society's Nashville office. In addition to direct services, this program provides regular trainings for the residents, medical students and the hospital's social workers and provides many other resources to all hospital staff.

The Oak Ridge Education-Legal Partnership involves staff from the Oak Ridge office who participate in an Education-Legal Partnership with the Family Resource Center of Oak Ridge Schools. Through this United Way funded program, Legal Aid Society attorneys handle legal problems referred by the Center that interfere with children's ability to succeed in school. Legal Aid Society attorneys also conduct legal check-ups and give training to parents and teachers as part of this partnership.

West Tennessee Legal Services

210 W. Main St.
Jackson, TN 38301
Telephone: (731) 423-0616
Fax: (731) 423-2600
Email: [email protected]

10% Children's Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys

West Tennessee Legal Services (WTLS) began doing children's law cases as part of their overall work in 1994. WTLS has 10 staff attorneys, 10 paralegals and 2 social workers currently on staff. Approximately 40 volunteer lawyers are utilized each year, and volunteer law students could be utilized as well. Trainings for volunteers are offered as needed. Cases are assigned through a pro bono coordinator and monitored through calls to volunteers, written requests for updates, volunteer mentors and self-reporting. To volunteer, contact the agency.

The office has handled impact litigation, a recent example being a case on special education policy and procedure conformance with IDEA and due process.

Calls are accepted from the public and from children seeking legal information. Cases are referred from juvenile court, social service agencies, schools, health care professionals, other attorneys, and children themselves.