Students in the Child Advocacy Clinic learn about a variety of substantive areas impacting the lives of children, particularly by focusing on child welfare (abuse and neglect, foster care, and adoption), education, and juvenile justice. Through a wide range of field placements with government agencies and organizations throughout the U.S. and other countries, students work on different types of projects such as drafting memoranda and briefs for litigation; developing legislative reform proposals; analyzing social science and psychological research; and providing strategic advice to start-ups. We asked students to share their thoughts about working with the Child Advocacy Clinic. Please read their reflections below.
Lydia Halpern, 3L
“The Child Advocacy Clinic was the perfect capstone to my law school career. Interning at the Middlesex Juvenile Court I was able to put three years of doctrinal knowledge in a wide variety of legal fields to use. Aside from the obvious—Civil Procedure, Evidence—I wrote memos and worked on cases involving Immigration Law, First Amendment Law, Constitutional Law, and Family Law. More so than any other job or clinical placement I’ve had during my time at Harvard Law, this clinic allowed me to put what I was learning in the classroom directly into practice. Spending 8 to 10 hours of every week in court gave me great insight into how the juvenile justice system actually works, and allowed me to connect with a wide variety of people who came from all over spectrum of the juvenile justice legal field.”
Faye Maison, 2L
“As a student in the Child Advocacy Clinic, I enjoyed the opportunity to have in depth discussions about everyone’s placements. Students in the CAP clinic worked at a variety of placements, but the placements were strikingly similar. It was amazing to see how interconnected the presentations were. We were constantly referring back to a comment or scenario someone brought up earlier in the semester that was still relevant to the current discussion. It showed how we can take on a variety of roles to combat and assist people in the same issue-area.”
Mark Hamlin, 2L
“Heading into my Child Advocacy Clinic placement site, a primary goal of mine was to find a way to continue to be involved in child advocacy after law school, even though I would almost certainly be heading into practice at a large law firm. The clinic more than met this goal. It not only showed me the diversity of backgrounds involved in the field of child advocacy, but the diversity of approaches and opportunities through which to become involved. I may not know specifically what my role will be in children’s advocacy post-law school, but I no longer am worried that by working at a large law firm I will be cutting myself off from this incredible community of advocates.
Beyond the realm of child advocacy, the clinic also offered me the most practical experience I have received in law school. My placement exposed me to brief and motion writing, witness interviewing and declaration preparation, client interaction, the dynamics of team collaboration and delegation, and the difficulty of actually getting your day in court. It was very refreshing to move away from the theory of law and towards practical application.”