The Youth & Justice Clinic examines the role of the lawyer in the juvenile justice process. Students work in teams representing detained youth on non-criminal, civil legal issues in cooperation with attorneys and nonprofit organizations – specifically with Mental Health Advocates of Los Angeles. In terms of lawyering skills, the class provides opportunities, both through simulation and work on real cases, to develop skills in client interviewing and counseling, case preparation, interviewing experts, motion/brief writing, policy briefing and institutional advocacy.
This graded, six-unit clinical course is limited to maximum of eight students. One (1) unit will take place in the fall and five (5) units in the spring. The fall clinical training component will involve skills building elements including: (a) interviewing children/youth; (b) learning juvenile court procedures; (c) determining the LAUSD school expulsion process; and (d) gaining working knowledge of mental health and learning rights issues including the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process within the juvenile hall detention centers; (e) interviewing experts and institutional system stakeholders; and (f) understanding how to advocate for systematic changes.
In the spring, students will work in teams to represent the needs of detained youth working directly to represent the youth’s interests and with youth’s attorney on civil legal matters. These proceedings will include: (a) expulsion disciplinary hearings before school districts; (b) IEP Hearings for detained student seeking modifications to their IEPs while in juvenile hall; this will also include counseling parents and students about their rights within the halls and negotiating IEPS with the juvenile hall schools; (c) accommodations within the hall based on disabilities under the Americans with Disability Act; and (d) any ancillary issues that may arise.
The Youth & Justice Clinic is taught by Professor Jyoti Nanda.