This is a full-year law clinic offered for 10 credits (5 credits/semester) and students will receive separate letter grades at the end of the year for the clinic work and seminar. The clinic is open to day and evening students in their last two (2) years of law school and Accelerated JD students in their last year. Students in the Juvenile Defender Clinic (JDC) will advise and directly represent children charged with delinquency offenses in the Boston Juvenile Court. Students will handle all aspects of delinquency cases from arraignment through trial.
Students in this clinic will learn a wide range of lawyering skills, with a heavy focus on developing and maintaining a professional relationship with adolescent clients and their families. Students will develop a variety of litigation skills, including interviewing clients and witnesses, conducting full investigations, motion and discovery practice, and plea negotiating. Additionally, students will appear on the record in court and may represent clients in bail hearings, pre-trial suppression hearings, probation revocation hearings, and jury and bench trials. Students will be supervised in their casework by Attorney Vanessa Hernandez.
All JDC students are required to attend a weekly two-hour seminar. The seminar will focus on substantive law topics related to juvenile and criminal justice, challenges related to multiple aspects of juvenile representation, including issues related to age, gender, race, poverty, and mental health. Students will also be asked to participate in case rounds sessions during some portions of the classroom seminar. Students will be assigned “class clients” and will learn interviewing, litigation, writing, oral advocacy, and client counseling skills during the seminar. Students are also required to meet at least one hour per week with Attorney Hernandez and will submit reflective journals throughout the course of the year.
Students must be available from 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Tuesdays for court appearances. On occasion, students will be required to appear in court on other days of the week. Additionally, at least 13 hours a week in clinic work outside of the seminar is required.
Completion of Evidence with a satisfactory grade is the only prerequisite course. Concurrent enrollment in Evidence is option for Accelerated JD students only. The completion of Criminal Procedure, Trial Practice, and Children and the Law are recommended, but not necessary. All inquiries should be directed to Vanessa Hernandez, Practitioner in Residence.