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About:

The Domestic & Sexual Violence Clinic is a one-semester experiential course in which third-year law students represent low-income victims of domestic and sexual violence in civil matters.  Students represent clients in domestic violence protective order hearings in local courts.  Additional comprehensive representation may extend to family law matters, including child custody and divorce, and other collateral matters. Student may also have the opportunity to represent complainants in Title IX matters at Duke University and will also work with national, state, and local domestic violence service providers in areas related to policy and advocacy.

Throughout the semester, students have multiple, if not weekly, court appearances on domestic violence protective order hearings and are required to prepare for trials, including planning and conducting direct and cross examinations of witnesses, preparing opening statements and closing arguments, and drafting pleadings and legal memoranda on various issues as they arise. 

Students receive 3 pass/fail credits each semester.

How Cases are Assigned:

Cases are referred by local domestic violence and sexual assault agencies, law enforcement, Legal Aid of North Carolina, and other advocacy programs and non-profit agencies.  Faculty assign cases to students who work in teams of two and consult with each other regularly and during weekly team meetings with their faculty supervisor.  

How Cases are Handled & Workload:

Students are given as much autonomy as possible in making decisions about their cases. Students collaborate with local advocacy agencies, service providers, and law enforcement, and negotiate with opposing attorneys and pro se adverse parties.  Throughout the semester, students have numerous court appearances and are required to prepare for trials, including interviewing witnesses, planning and conducting direct and cross examinations of witnesses, preparing opening statements and closing arguments, and drafting pleadings and legal memoranda on various issues as they arise.

Students can expect to spend, on average, 15 hours a week on their case preparation and court time, and will have weekly meetings with faculty and their peers. These meetings will be set at the beginning of the semester in accordance with student schedules.  In addition, there will be trainings and case rounds scheduled throughout the semester.

 

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106


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