Family, Domestic Violence, and LGBT Law: Litigating in Family Court Clinic

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Fall 2012 Clinic
2, 3, or 4 clinical credits

Co-requisite Class: Family, Domestic Violence, LGBT Law: Litigating in Family Court Clinical Seminar (2 Fall credits). Clinic and class enrollment is bundled. Enrollment in one component (e.g. clinic) will automatically enroll you in the other component (e.g. class).
Early Add/Drop Deadline: September 4, 2012.
LLM Students: Due to Massachusetts court practice rules, LLM students are not eligible to enroll.

Students in the Family, Domestic Violence, and LGBT Law clinics work directly with clients in matters of divorce, custody and visitation, abuse prevention, paternity, chid support, guardianship, and second parent adoptions. Under close supervsion of the clinical instructor, students manage all aspects of a family law case, including counselling clients, conducting factual investigation and legal research, developing case strategies, conducting and analyzing discovery, and drafting pleadings. In addition, students may have multiple court appearances in both Family and District Courts for motion hearings, restraining orders, pre trial conferences, and/or status conferences. In addition, students negotiate directly with opposing attorneys, pro se opponents, and in court-mandated "dispute resolution" sessions. In cases scheduled for full trial, students conduct depositions, develop witness and exhibit lists, trial strategies and trial notebook, prepare and conduct direct- and cross-examinations of witnesses, make opening statements and closing arguments, and/or draft post-trial briefs and memoranda. Students may also have the opportunity to prepare and present trainings and workshops on relevant legal issues to health care providers, domestic violence advocates, and the LGBT community.

The Family Law Clinic addresses issues of custody, visitation, child and spousal support, health and life insurance, and the equitable division of marital property and debt in the context of divorce, paternity, modification, contempt, guardianship, and adoption actions.

The Domestic Violence Clinic focuses on abuse prevention, safety, and making sure that domestic violence is not a barrier to a client's legal rights regarding custody, property division, and other aspects of family and domestic relations.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Clinic provides a broad range of direct legal services to the LGBT community, with a particular emphasis on family-related legal issues (custody, support and visitation, and second-parent adoptions) and estate planning (wills, powers of attorneys, partnership agreements) to ensure that same-sex partners and families are legally protected.

In addition to direct legal services, the Clinic actively participates in creating systemic change and policy reform to further the rights and interests of the GLBT community, ensure safety for domestic violence victims and survivors, and to impove overall justice in the field of domestic relations.

Due to the litigation emphasis of the clinics and court-related schedules, students 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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