Prof. Debra Chopp (right) and a student discuss the Pediatric Advocacy Clinic.
Professor Debra Chopp has been teaching in the Pediatric Advocacy Clinic since 2007. Her legal practice focuses primarily on special education law and family law. Prior to joining the Pediatric Advocacy Clinic, Prof. Chopp was a staff attorney with the Pediatric Advocacy Initiative at Michigan Law. Prof. Chopp has represented survivors of domestic violence as an attorney for Sanctuary for Families: Center for Battered Women's Legal Services in New York and has lobbied Congress for improved highway safety laws as a legislative assistant at Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety in Washington, D.C. She earned her BA in political science from the University of Michigan and her JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
L. Kate Mitchell joined the Pediatric Advocacy Clinic in July 2014 as a Clinical Teaching Fellow. Kate has more than 13 years of experience practicing poverty law. She previously served as the Legal Director of the Toledo Medical Legal Partnership for Children at Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Toledo, Ohio. While with the MLPC, she provided training to pediatric medical providers on patient advocacy and social determinants of health, provided legal advocacy to children in poverty and their families, and engaged in systemic policy reform initiatives at the local and state level. Her primary areas of focus were special education, school discipline, and access to health care. Kate also worked as a staff attorney with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago for three years immediately following law school and then joined the staff of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana in New Orleans. At JJPL she worked on juvenile prison condition litigation, represented youth in disposition modification and delinquency proceedings, and engaged in systemic reform initiatives related to improving juvenile indigent defense services and strengthening juvenile competency standards. After Hurricane Katrina, Kate worked as a Kramer Fellow at The Public Law Center at Tulane University School of Law focusing on economic and housing revitalization efforts in New Orleans.
Kate has presented at local, state, and national conferences on a variety of topics including juvenile competency standards, special education, collaborative interdisciplinary advocacy techniques, and Medicaid regulations impacting child access to healthcare. She was the primary author of the Louisiana Juvenile Defender Trial Practice Manual, published in 2007, and a contributing researcher and writer for the National Juvenile Defender Center publication Principles in Practice: Promoting Accountability, Safety and Fairness in Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings. Her primary research interests relate to the intersection of poverty, health and legal advocacy, interdisciplinary approaches to advocacy, and the impact of school disciplinary practices on children with disabilities. Kate received her BA in Sociology, magna cum laude, from Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin and her JD, cum laude, from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. Kate is admitted to practice law in Ohio, Illinois, and Louisiana.
Kimara Thompson is the administrator and legal assistant of the Pediatric Advocacy Clinic. Prior to joining the PAC, Kimara worked for the University of Michigan Law School Child Advocacy Law Clinic. As the only support staff for the PAC, Kimara fills multiple roles, including orienting and supporting the law students and social work interns, supporting the faculty and staff attorney, conducting potential client intakes, communicating with medical provider partners on specific case referrals, and maintaining and monitoring the PAC case database. Kimara's prior experience with courts and attorneys included preparation of legal documents, working with court calendars, overseeing court filings, interacting with clients, and managing law office administration.
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