The foundation for a career in child-welfare law is created through our significant course offerings as well as an array of extracurricular activities available to students, including the Legal Advocates for Children and Youth organization, the Family Law Project, Wolverine Street Law, and the National Moot Court Competition in Child Welfare Law and Adoption. Students may also undertake independent studies on issues of their choosing. Recent examples of independent studies include the viability of federal actions based on unjustified removals of children from their homes, the allocation of rights between teen parents and their parents, and the impact of juvenile sex offender registries on a child's rehabilitation.
Additionally, many students participate in volunteer or externship opportunities during the school year at local community organizations such as the Washtenaw County Public Defender's Office, Legal Aid and Defender's Association in Detroit, and the American Civil Liberties Union. During their summers, students often work at leading child and parent law offices or national policy organizations, and their work is funded through programs such as the Student Funded Fellowship Program and the Dean's Public Service Fellows Program. Prior to beginning such work, many students participate in the
Bergstrom Child Welfare Fellowship Program.
Legal Advocates for Children and Youth (LACY)The goals of Legal Advocates for Children and Youth (LACY) are to provide a community for law students interested in legal work with young people and to advocate for better programming, funding, and faculty for child- and youth-related law at the Law School. LACY also promotes school-year and summer internships with organizations working on youth legal issues, and creates opportunities for law students to learn about ways in which practicing lawyers work with children and youth. LACY focuses on issues including, but not limited to, juvenile justice, abuse and neglect, education, mental health, family law, disability law, public benefits law, and adolescent health issues.
National Moot Court Competition in Child Welfare Law and AdoptionMichigan Law participates in the National Moot Court Competition in Child Welfare Law and Adoption at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Students are selected for the team through a competitive application process. Team members then draft a brief addressing the questions posed by the moot court problem and deliver oral arguments at the national competition to experts in the field. More information about the competition can be found at
Family Law ProjectThe Family Law Project (FLP) is an affiliate program of Legal Services of South Central Michigan that provides legal services to indigent survivors of domestic violence. Founded in 1979 by Michigan Law students, FLP is the primary organization providing legal services to survivors of domestic violence in Washtenaw County.FLP provides a unique opportunity for law students to obtain practical legal experience and to participate in their community. Under the supervision of an attorney, student volunteers (primarily first-year law students) individually manage their own cases. FLP students focus on personal protection order, divorce, and custody cases. Working one-on-one with clients, students help plan case strategy and draft pleadings, motions, and orders. Second- and third-year law students may represent their clients in court.FLP provides training for law students on the legal and social issues related to serving survivors of domestic violence. In addition, FLP works closely with the Domestic Violence Project/SAFE House, which provides counseling and shelter to survivors of domestic violence.
ExternshipsThe Law School offers full- and part-time externships, which give students the opportunity to augment classroom study with real-world work experience. Students have used these opportunities to work at child welfare organizations throughout the country. Locally, numerous students have worked at the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy (include hyperlink to CFA website).
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