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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

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education recently passed a number of changes to the state Department of Education’s special education regulations that were proposed by student practitioners in the Youth Justice section of the Loyola Law Clinic. The changes include expanding the time parents have to file a formal state complaint from one year to two years, improving the transparency of LDE’s monitoring process by requiring the posting of monitoring results and corrective action online, specifying a 15-day timeline for responding to requests for evaluations and other types of parental requests, and requiring school districts to provide parents with drafts of a student’s IEP at least 3 business days before the IEP team meeting.

Supervised by Professor Hector Linares

News Coverage

Federal rights suit against moving youth to Angola:

Actions against the city in defense of youth concerning Hurricane Ida evacuation:

Professor Hector Linares comments on La. crime laws for juveniles: