Family, Domestic Violence and LGBT Law: Litigating in the Family Courts: Clinical Seminar

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Spring 2013 Seminar
Meets: M 5:00pm - 7:00pm in Hauser Hall Room 101
2 classroom credits

Co-requisite Clinic: Family, Domestic Violence, and LGBT Law: Litigating in Family Court Clinic (2-4 Spring credits). Class and clinic enrollment is bundled. Enrollment in one component (e.g. class) will automatically enroll you in the other component (e.g. clinic).
Early Add/Drop Deadline: January 18, 2013.
LLM Students: Due to Massachusetts court practice rules, LLM students are not eligible to enroll or its required clinic.

The Family, Domestic Violence, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Law clinical course provides students who are concurrently enrolled in the WilmerHale Legal Services Center’s Family, Domestic Violence, LGBT Law Clinic, with the practical skills and substantive knowledge necessary to effectively advocate for their clients in and out of the courtroom. Objectives of the course include: developing practical lawyering skills to be applied in the clinical component and beyond; understanding the statutory and case law applicable in family law litigation; enhancing student understanding of the professional roles, values, and ethics involved in the practice of law; gaining insight into the unique challenges of low-income clients, victims of domestic violence, and the LGBT community; as well as analyzing and proposing legal advocacy approaches to contemporary family law issues. The course emphasizes a collaborative “health-law” approach to advocating for our client populations.

This course is hands-on and group-oriented. Most classes involve both small and large-group exercises and discussions. Throughout the course, students work on a hypothetical case from the initial client interview through the final disposition of the case. In a series of simulated group exercises, students conduct in-depth interviews with the “client”, write memoranda, prepare case and client theories, argue for and defend against Motions, manage discovery, counsel the client as the facts of the case evolve, engage in settlement negotiations on the client’s behalf, and reflect on ethical issues encountered during the course of representation. In addition, students will prepare a memorandum and conduct a substantive presentation on one of their active “real life” cases at the Legal Services Center, and will lead class discussion on the case and on the larger ethical and legal questions it presents. There is no final examination or final paper for this course. Students will be evaluated based on their preparation for, and participation in, class exercises and discussions.

Due to the litigation emphasis of the clinics and court-related schedules, students enrolled in this course are strongly encouraged to enroll for 3 or 4 clinical credits, however, students who can only enroll for 2 credits will be accommodated.

Subject Areas: Family, Gender & Children's Law , Procedure & Practice .

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