The Youth Justice Clinic (YJC) is either a full-year or fall-semester-only, three-credit, graded clinic in which third-year law students represent children and young adults in delinquency and district courts; middle-school and high-school students facing disciplinary proceedings in their schools; young adults seeking to expunge their records; and sixteen- and seventeen-year olds seeking legal emancipation. Students work in Durham, Orange, and Wake counties.
Criminal Lawyering Process (CLP) is a three-credit, graded, writing experience (WE) course. All YJC students must take this course during the 3rd year fall semester. Using simulations, discussion, video, and lecture, students cover the practical skills as well as the substantive procedural law needed in court and administrative hearings. The course also presents for discussion and written reflection and analysis of ethical, strategic and systemic issues that arise in cases. Each week, students will prepare a short writing assignment focusing on different components of defense practice.
Students electing the full-year option will have six credits in the fall and three credits in the spring. Students electing the fall-only option have six credits in the fall.
how the clinic works
YJC clients are assigned to individual students, who work with a partner and meet regularly with a faculty supervisor. While the supervisor offers advice and feedback, the students are responsible for devising and carrying out the strategy for the case. Students research legal theories and defenses, prepare and update case plans, draft motions and legal memoranda, and prepare witness examinations and argument for evidentiary hearings. Students also conduct pre-trial and pre-sentencing investigations in which they interview state and defense witnesses. Students maintain regular contact with their clients, advising and counseling them at each stage. Students appear in court and administrative hearings frequently and handle all aspects of the case, including oral arguments on issues including detention, probable cause, motions, trial and sentencing. Students regularly negotiate with prosecutors, school attorneys, and other court personnel on behalf of their clients.
pre- & co-requisites, registration, & requirements
The Youth Justice Clinic is limited to third-year students. A lottery registration meeting for Externship and Clinical Programs is held approximately one month into the spring semester of your 2nd year. Notices are posted throughout the Law School and emailed to the 2nd year student listserv. After the lottery registration meeting, students are given an opportunity to register for their program preferences online.
Students may not enroll in an externship program while enrolled in the Youth Justice Clinic, or volunteer in or be employed by a district attorney office during their time in the YJC.
All YJC students must attend an intensive, 2-day weekend session in the Fall.
Prerequisites: Criminal Procedure-Investigation and Evidence
Pre- or Co-requisites: Trial Advocacy