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Winter 2014 Class Descriptions

As of 11/22/2014 5:07:52 AM

Legislation Clinic

The Legislation Clinic will provide students with an opportunity to observe and participate in many facets of the legislative process and policy advocacy. The clinic is intended to expose the student to the policy issues, legal analysis, drafting, and political process required to successfully advance a proposal through the legislative process. Prior experience with child welfare is not required.

For many years the Child Advocacy Law Clinic (CALC) has engaged in occasional legislative advocacy for child welfare reforms. (Child welfare includes legal and policy issues regarding child maltreatment, children in foster care, and suspension and termination of parental rights) Over these many years, the CALC has served as legislative counsel for various clients, including reform commissions, organizations and individuals. In one instance we served as "of Counsel" to the Michigan Lt. Governor's Office and worked on a package of bills she was supporting.

Most recently Professor Duquette championed a bill stemming from the notorious "Mike's Hard Lemonade Case" in which a seven-year old boy was placed in foster care for three days because his father, a classics professor at the University of Michigan, inadvertently gave him a Mike's Hard Lemonade at a Detroit Tigers game. That legislation dramatically improves the decision-making process between the Michigan Department of Human Services and the courts and provides appropriate due process protections for the child and parents. In 2012 that bill ultimately passed both houses of the Michigan legislature unanimously.

Now we will formalize this occasional legislative advocacy in a separate clinical offering. The clinic will identify policy reform issues that seem ripe for action but might require the boost of research, drafting, developing relations with stakeholders, and collaboration with supporting legislators that law students might do. We may have specific clients for whom we would serve as legislative counsel.

Students will first jointly select projects for the semester based on a preliminary list of topics and clients generated by Professor Duquette. To learn about the process and challenges, we will hear from various speakers early in the semester including the Legislative Service Bureau, government officials, lobbyists, stakeholders and our clients. We will travel from time to time to Lansing to meet with legislative leaders and staff. Students will draft legislation in partnership with our clients, stakeholders and the Legislative Service Bureau and identify legislators willing to introduce the appropriate bills.

The legislative process is deliberate (slow) but if one or more of our projects moves quickly enough, the clinic students will work in partnership with our clients to bring about the introduction of bills drafted, develop oral and written testimony, identify additional witnesses, shepherd their bills through the committee process, and work to get the bills ultimately adopted.

Legislation Clinic is offered for 3 credits for 8 students, graded. Legislation Clinic appears to qualify for New York's pro bono requirement.

The Clinic does not fulfill the Law School's professional responsibility requirement for graduation. The Clinic does not fulfill the New York State Bar ethics requirement unless students also simultaneously enroll in 402 Ethics Colloquium section 002.

3.00 hours
 
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