The Domestic & Sexual Violence Clinic is a one or two-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.
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.
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.
Evidence is a prerequisite and must be taken prior to enrollment.
Trial Advocacy pre- or co-requisite and must be taken prior to or concurrent with the clinic.