In response to the epidemic of juveniles who are falling between the cracks in the juvenile justice system, the Juvenile Law Clinic was developed. Its mission is to train and educate lawyers to serve the needs of juvenile offenders in a holistic manner.
The Juvenile Law Clinic is a one-semester program, offered both in the fall and the spring. It includes approximately 40 hours of classroom instruction and training, followed by 60 hours of fieldwork. The students gain invaluable experience when, under the supervision of the Juvenile Law Clinic Attorney, they take the lead on all cases and are responsible for the investigation, research, case strategy and all court appearances. Students represent juveniles on reviews, misdemeanors and felonies in the county court system, and youths facing long-term suspension in Durham Public Schools. The juvenile delinquency cases are referred to the Clinic through the Durham County Public Defender’s Office. Long-term suspension cases are received through direct referral.
Since the juvenile justice system is rooted in the belief that children should not be treated as adults, and that early intervention can save them from spending their lives behind bars, the Juvenile Law Clinic believes in providing advocacy every step of the way. The Clinic affords students with practical experience and the opportunity to give back to the community; meanwhile, juveniles get a dedicated attorney and advocate.
Supervising Attorney: Dorothy Hairston Mitchell
Potential Clients: Juvenile delinquency cases are referred to the Clinic through the Durham County Public Defender’s Office (919-564-7000).