The clinic helps children with disabilities and their families get access to special education services and supports vital for ensuring equal educational opportunity. Law students handle a range of legal issues from eligibility for services under various disability rights laws to representation at discipline and expulsion proceedings. Law students will begin to develop a variety of legal skills including: interviewing clients, fact investigation, legal research and analysis, case strategy, negotiation, and oral advocacy.
Participating in the Education Rights Clinic was the most rewarding experience of law school. As a student attorney, I learned the importance of listening to my clients, building a trusting rapport, managing expectations, and finding creative legal solutions to accomplish my clients’ objectives. Clinics offer students the opportunity to hone their advocacy skills outside of the traditional classroom setting, while providing valuable services to the community and positively impacting the lives of typically underrepresented or unrepresented individuals. For me, this was protecting the educational rights of vulnerable students, including by assisting a student with a disability obtain the services she needed and to which she was legally entitled and successfully defending a student at a district-level expulsion hearing. Not only did the Education Rights Clinic help refine the “soft skills” I need to be successful in practice, it also exposed me to an area of law which continues to shape my current practice.