About the Family Law Clinic Section
Students in the family law practice section represent clients by court appointment (children, absent defendants, and interdicts in interdiction cases). The student practitioners also represent indigent persons (mothers, fathers, grandparents) in custody, divorce, child support, and paternity cases. Students interview clients, conduct fact investigation, discovery, and legal research, prepare and file pleadings in court, develop a theory of their case, and prepare memorandums. The students make court appearances and participate in settlement conferences with opposing attorneys. Most students make several court appearances to argue their cases at hearings and trials in Orleans and Jefferson Parish Courts.
This semester, the Family Law section, supervised by Professor Cheryl Buchert, represents children in five custody cases with children ranging in age from 4 years to 16 years. In other cases, the student practitioners represent clients in divorces, continuing tutorships, and absentee defendant cases. The Family Law student practitioners have twenty Court appearances in Orleans and Jefferson Parish Courts this semester, including three full days of a custody trial.
Supervised by Professor Cheryl Buchert
Aspen Murphy, Jessica Barton, and Kevin Michot, Family Law Student Practitioners, were granted a Protective Order for their child client in the 24th Judicial District Court, Parish of Jefferson before the Honorable Stephen Enright. The practitioners admitted exhibits, questioned their witness and gave a compelling closing argument. The record is under seal.
Representing Juvenile Clients
Family Law Student Practitioners, Alexys Peron, Britt Gondolfi, and Clifford Fields represented their child clients in an ongoing custody trial before the Honorable June Darensburg in the 24th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Jefferson. The practitioners gave an Opening Statement, qualified the Expert Witness, Dr. Karen van Beyer, admitted exhibits, and questioned a witness. The trial is set for two more days in January and February 2023.
Advocates for Grandparents
Family Law Student Practitioners Kevin Michot and Aspen Murphy successfully represented their client in a grandparent visitation case that has been going on since 2014. Louisiana Revised Stature 9:344 provides for grandparent visitation rights if one of the parties to a marriage dies and there is a minor child of such marriage. The Court determines if such visitation rights would be in the best interest of the child.
"Under the guidance of our supervising attorney, Cheryl Buchert, we have been to court five times thus far [as of October in the Fall 2022 semester] and have collectively prepared about three dozen answers, petitions, motions, consent judgements, protective orders, letters to clients, and letters to attorneys. Representing our clients...has been a life changing experience." -Aspen Murphy, 2022-2023 student practitioner
Updating the Practice
Clinical Professor Emerita Cheryl P. Buchert (Family Law Clinic, Supervising Attorney) and Clinic Staff Attorney Tobie Tranchina (Children's Rights Clinic, Staff Attorney) authored and updated the Family Law Chapter in Volume One of the book Louisiana Civil Practice Forms, 2022 Edition, published by Thomson Reuters. Professor Buchert has authored the chapter yearly since 2008.