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Child Advocacy Practicum

Each student in the Child Advocacy Practicum is assigned to a local attorney who has been appointed to represent children (and in some cases, parents) in Family Court in Tompkins County or surrounding areas.

Student Experience

The attorneys and students work together on all aspects of representation, including home visits, pretrial conferences, negotiation sessions, client and parent interviews, litigation documents, and hearings. The student may also help the attorney with appellate work. A classroom component of the clinic allows students to learn the substantive law of Family Court and to share their insights and experiences with one another.

In addition to the practicum course, each semester the Child Advocacy program places one student in the local Attorneys for Children Office. The office provides representation to children involved in Family Court proceedings, handling such issues as child abuse and neglect, termination of parental rights, custody, persons in need of supervision, and juvenile delinquency. The student assists the office’s attorneys and social workers in all phases of representation including:

  • Case investigation, including interviewing clients, teachers, therapists, and families
  • Home visits
  • Court proceedings
  • Researching and writing pleadings, memoranda, discovery documents, and closing arguments.

Students are admitted to practice under the student-practice rule and are able to appear in court under attorney supervision. A classroom component of the course ensures that the student understands the substantive law involved in the work.

Clinic Faculty

Kathleen Sullivan
Adjunct Professor of Law
Adjunct and Associated - Clinical
Cornell Law School
130 Hughes Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901

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