Touro Law Offers New Child Advocacy ClinicFebruary 21, 2018
Touro Law has opened a new Child Advocacy Clinic. The clinic, headed by veteran family law attorney Danielle Schwager ’98, will provide free legal representation to children involved in Family Court proceedings.
“This clinic provides both legal services for our neighbors that require them and invaluable hands-on experiences for law students,” stated Touro Law Dean Harry Ballan.
The clinic will be staffed by closely supervised upper level law students, who, operating under a special court order, will represent children and parents in abuse and neglect cases, in matters involving allegations ranging from physical and sexual abuse to educational neglect, as well as inadequate supervision; cases dealing with delinquency; custody disputes; domestic violence cases; and termination of parental rights.
Clinic students will advocate for their clients in all aspects of the practice of law including: conducting discovery, hearings and full trials, appeals and motion practice, as well as negotiating settlements and formulating dispositional plans. Outside of court, students will maintain regular contact with their clients, investigate the factual allegations made in the case, formulate realistic and compassionate plans for clients and their families, work closely with mental health professionals, caseworkers, teachers, law enforcement professionals, foster parents – all to ensure that their clients’ needs are being met.
Clinic Director Danielle Schwager said, “I am proud to be leading this new clinic at Touro. While training students to practice in this critically important area of law, we are also helping those who truly need our help. The students are delving into the inner workings of the courthouse and the courtroom. They are interacting with the judiciary, practicing lawyers and court staff. It’s exciting to watch them learn and grow from week to week and become staunch advocates for their clients.”
Students in the clinic spend one full day a week in court and spend at least a dozen hours each week meeting with clients and preparing their cases. All work is done under close faculty supervision.
Third year student Christopher Brogna stated, “The clinic has been fantastic. I have always been interested in family law and the practical aspects of practicing in this area of law. There is a difference between talking about the things that go on and seeing them occur in real time right in front of you. I am confident that the clinic will make an impact on my legal career.”
Clinics are an integral part of the educational process at Touro Law. Available to full-time students in their second year and part-time students in their third year, clinics provide students with an opportunity to represent actual clients with real legal problems and to work with experienced attorney-professors. Under the close supervision of faculty, clinic students advise clients and appear on their behalf in court or at administrative hearings. In addition to providing valuable first-hand experience, clinics help students hone essential professional skills such as interviewing, drafting legal documents, and investigating and developing evidence.
Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law is located adjacent to both a state and a federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York. Touro Law’s proximity to the courthouses, coupled with programming developed to integrate the courtroom into the classroom, provide a one-of-a kind learning experience for law students, combining a rigorous curriculum taught by expert faculty with a practical courtroom experience. Touro Law is dedicated to providing hands-on learning that enables students to gain experience while offering much-needed legal services in the community.
Touro Law, which has an alumni base of more than 6,000, offers full- and part-time J.D. programs where students can earn a degree in 2, 3, 4 or 5 years and provides four areas of concentration. Touro Law also offers a new FlexTime JD Program, combining online and on-campus learning for students that need maximum flexibility in scheduling. Several dual degree programs and graduate law programs for US and foreign law graduates are offered, including a new online LL.M. in Aging & Longevity Law. Touro Law Center is part of the Touro College and University system.
About the Touro College and University System
Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 19,200 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has 30 campuses and locations in New York, California, Nevada, Berlin, Jerusalem and Moscow. New York Medical College; Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus; Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division; as well as Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Ill. are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to: http://www.touro.edu/news/.
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