Children’s Rights Clinic Course Information

Students provide legal advice and representation to juveniles on a broad array of legal needs. For the first half day of registration, enrollment is limited to third-year students or those with at least 54 credit hours. After that, second-year students may also enroll.

CHILDREN’S RIGHTS CLINIC
LAW 665

Director

Jenny R. Ryan

Eligibility

2Ls and 3Ls, but preference in registration is given to 3rd year students.

Credit hours/duration

The clinic is offered for 3 credits and is a one-semester clinic.

Weekly classes

Seminar: 1½ hour TBA
Case Rounds: 1½ hour TBA

The Children’s Rights Clinic is the newest of the Law School’s clinical programs.  Although a similar clinic was operated in the early 2000’s, the clinic will now focus largely on children with disabilities who have connections to the Juvenile Court of Tuscaloosa County.  The clinic is operated in conjunction with the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP) which has been the Protection and Advocacy group for the State of Alabama for over 40 years.  ADAP is s a provider of both legal representation as well as public education and information about legal issues of concern to people with disabilities.

The Children’s Rights Clinic provides high quality legal advice and representation while also providing a closely-supervised and professionally challenging clinical experience for second- and third-year law students. The Clinic staff consists of Jenny Ryan(director) and Diane Simpson (administrative assistant).

Who Does the Children’s Rights Clinic Represent?

The Children’s Rights Clinic receives funding based on the individual child’s disability.  Children that do not qualify under the strict parameters of the Children’s Rights Clinic may still qualify to receive services through ADAP.  

What Type of Work Will I Do in the Children’s Rights Clinic?

Students will provide free legal services when appointed by Juvenile Judges or Referees in Juvenile courts in Tuscaloosa County.  These matters include such things as being appointed as Guardian ad Litem, advising at 72 hour detention hearings, advising at disposition hearings, and visiting clients in placements.  Students will also participate in representing students in developing and enforcing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) within schools in Tuscaloosa County.  This could also include attending disciplinary hearings and filing of due process or state complaints if required for a particular student.

What are the Children’s Rights Clinic Credits and Workload?

The Children’s Rights Clinic is a one-semester, 3-credit course and is open to both 2nd and 3rd year law students (with a preference in registration given to 3rd year students). Third-year students must be registered as a law student with the Alabama State Bar WELL IN ADVANCE OF THE BEGINNING OF THE SEMESTER in order to receive the necessary student practice card. Students without a practice card may take the Clinic, but will not be able to appear in court or provide legal advice directly to their clients. Students are expected to spend an average of 10 hours per week on Clinic classes and casework. The classes include a weekly seminar in which students learn the substantive and procedural laws related to elder client representation and discuss the practice skills and professional responsibility issues relevant to their cases. In addition, students meet once a week for a case staffing conference, at which time students discuss new requests for assistance and decide which cases to accept and what services to provide. Finally, students meet with the director once a week for direct case supervision, at which time students present their plan for the development of their cases and discuss how cases are progressing.

About Jenny R. Ryan

Jenny Ryan joined the University of Alabama School of Law as Director of the Children’s Rights Law Clinic in 2017. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Alabama with a bachelor of arts in 1996 and is a 1999 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law.  She also works at the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP) specializing in special education law.  Prior to joining the clinic, she worked at ADAP as well as in private practice with a focus on juvenile delinquency and dependency.  Professor Ryan previously worked as a social security staff attorney for Judge Charles Coody, Judge Susan Walker, Judge Vanzetta McPherson, and Judge Delores Boyd, Magistrate Judges of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama (2001-2002), and as a law clerk for Judge Sue Bell Cobb of the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals (2000-2001).