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About the Youth Justice Clinic Section

The Youth Justice section teaches student practitioners the substantive law, procedure, and practical lawyering skills needed to advocate for the special education rights of students with disabilities and to defend youth in delinquency proceedings. Student practitioners represent parents of special education students in disputes over eligibility, discipline, services, accommodations, education in the least restrictive environment, and other issues related to the student’s right to a free and appropriate public education. Clinic students gain valuable experience with negotiation and client-centered representation advocating at Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings and other meetings at the school level. Many of the clinic’s special education cases also require formal dispute resolution involving mediation, the drafting and filing of administrative complaints, and litigation before administrative tribunals. The clinic also defends youth accused of delinquency in juvenile court at all phases of proceedings, from first appearance through trial and disposition. Clinic students advocate for the youth’s expressed interests while providing a high-quality, holistic defense. Students interested in careers as criminal defense attorneys will benefit from this clinic by developing trial skills and knowledge of criminal law and procedure in addition to learning the specialized skills and procedures specific to the representation of youth in delinquency proceedings. This section also offers to engage in policy work on pressing reforms related to juvenile justice, educational rights, and other areas of youth justice. 

Hector Linares and a student in class

Section Success

In the Fall of 2022, the Youth Justice section of the law clinic filed a federal civil rights suit seeking an injunction and class-wide relief after the state announced plans to move youth in the custody of the Office of Juvenile Justice to a facility on the grounds of the notorious Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Although the preliminary injunction was not granted, clinic students remain actively involved in ongoing litigation efforts to obtain permanent relief.

Supervised by Professor Hector Linares

Section Snapshots

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