Child and Family Law Clinic

The Child and Family Law Clinic is a working law office in which law students, working in multi-disciplinary teams, represent children in child protection proceedings and adult victims of domestic violence.

We are committed to providing a quality, supervised, multi-disciplinary learning environment for law students and masters of social work interns. The clinic is dedicated to representing, with integrity, the interests of children and adult victims involved with the justice system. Students seek to empower clients by encouraging their active participation, when safe, at every stage of the legal process.

Goals for Law Students

  • Enhance Lawyer Skills
    Through practical experience in the field and in classroom simulations, we help law students develop their skills and learn a little about the law. Students interview clients and witnesses; investigate facts; research the law; write motions and court reports; negotiate with other lawyers; work collaboratively with social work students; and stand up and advocate in a real courtroom.
  • Learn how to learn from experience
    In addition to cultivating lawyer skills, the Clinic helps students begin to master the lifelong skill of learning from experience — not only about the law, but also about themselves. We hope that the Clinic can help students help themselves to become reflective lawyers — that is lawyers who are not only highly skilled professionals, but who also care about the quality of the justice, ethics, and morality of the profession.
  • Develop good lawyer judgment
    In the process of the first two goals and drawing on lessons from all other law school classes, law student’s sense of lawyer judgment will develop and mature. By “lawyer judgment” we mean making the kinds of ethical and practical decisions that lawyers are asked to make regardless of their area of practice.
  • Deliver high-quality legal services
    We expect the Child and Family Law Clinic to provide the highest quality legal services to our clients. Our clients deserve nothing less.

About the Clinic

Paul D. Bennett

Charles E. Ares Professor of Law; Director of the Child and Family Law Clinic

Paul Bennett is the Co-Director of Clinics and Director of the Child and Family Law Clinic. He joined the College of Law in 1996 as the first Director of the Child Advocacy Clinic which later became the multi-disciplinary Child and Family Law Clinic.

In 2012 - 2013, Professor Bennett also co-directed the Law College's Veteran's Advocacy Law Clinic. 

In addition to Clinical Legal Education, Professor Bennett teaches classes in Professional Responsibility, Law and Humanities and Juvenile Law. In 2010, along with Professor Tom Mauet, Professor Bennett was chosen by Arizona Law students to receive the John Strong Teaching Award.  In 2020, Professor Bennett was selected Attorney of the Year at the Pima County Juvenile Court by the Court Appointed Special Advocates. 

Professor Bennett joined the Arizona faculty after teaching for several years at Cornell Law School. He graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, in 1973, and received his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 1976. After receiving his law degree, he practiced with the Orleans Legal Aid Bureau in Albion, NY; Chemung County Neighborhood Legal Services in Ithaca, NY; and later was a partner in the law firm of Holmberg, Galbraith, Holmberg, Orkin and Bennett in Ithaca, NY.

Professor Bennett has long been active in Arizona's efforts to upgrade the quality of representation for children in the Juvenile and Family Courts.   Professor Bennett has long advocated that, when children choose, they should be given a meaningful voice in the court proceedings that impact their lives.

Professor Bennett is a member of the Arizona Supreme Court’s Commission on Diversity, Equality and Justice.  In 2012 and 2017, as a member of the Commission, Professor Bennett authored the final reports of the Commission’s Bench Diversity Projects. These were the nation’s first comprehensive studies of diversity in a State Court System. The reports have influenced changes in judicial selection in-state and beyond.  Professor Bennett has also been involved in the Commission’s work dealing with racial and ethnic disparities in Juvenile Justice in Arizona. 

Professor Bennett is the Director of the Himelic Juvenile Detention Teaching Program in which law students teach weekend programs for children in lock up. 

Professor Bennett is the co-author with Professor Kenney Hegland of A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Lawyer, 2nd Edition (West Pub. 2022).

From 2004 - 2006, Professor Bennett co-chaired the State Bar of Arizona's Task Force on Professionalism and co-authored its final report. The Arizona Supreme Court and the State Bar of Arizona have adopted recommendations from the Report.  Professor Bennett was awarded the State Bar’s Presidents Award for his work with the task force.

Last, and most important, Professor Bennett is the grandfather of Hadyn, Damian, Soren, and Saskia, who, like all children have minds of their own.

The Child & Family Law Clinic is a teaching law office within the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law. The Clinic students provide free advice and legal representation to children and adults in a variety of family law matters related to child protection, domestic violence, and child custody disputes.

The work is completed by law students in collaboration with Masters of Social Work interns from the Arizona State University School of Social Work, Tucson Component and undergraduate students majoring in Spanish interpretation and translation at the University of Arizona or at Pima Community College. All work is supervised by a lawyer and law school faculty member serving as the Clinic Director.

The law students and social work students interview adult clients at the Clinic office located on the University of Arizona law school campus. Child clients are generally interviewed at their home or school. Clients are provided with legal advice and referrals to social services at each interview.

Most child clients are assigned directly to the Clinic by the Juvenile Court. For adult clients, a decision regarding the provision of legal representation in court proceedings is made after consultation with the Clinic Directors according to student availability and eligibility guidelines. We do not charge any fees for our services.

  • Child Protection
    Clinic students provide independent legal representation to children who are the subjects of child protection proceedings (Dependencies) in the Pima County Juvenile Court. The Clinic also provides legal representation to teenage parents in Juvenile Court cases involving their dependent children.
  • Contested Order of Protection
    Clinic students provide representation to adults and teenagers in contested order of protection hearings to ensure that the order is upheld without modifications that pose a risk to the safety of the victim-survivor.
  • Victim Representation
    Clinic students provide representation pursuant to the Arizona Victim's Bill of Rights to aid child or adult victims in asserting their rights during the criminal prosecution of their abusers in criminal domestic violence or child abuse cases.
  • Divorce and Child Custody
    Clinic students provide legal advice and help with completing appropriate family law legal forms. The Clinic students may be able to provide short-term limited legal representation in custody disputes.
  • Minor Emancipation
    Clinic students provide legal advice and information to minors about emancipation under Arizona law.
  • Special Education
    Clinic students provide legal advice to parents and foster parents regarding children with special education needs.

  • Introduction to Symposium (Youth, Voice and Power: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives), 45 Ariz. L. Rev. 559 (2003) (co-author, with Barbara A. Atwood).
    Available at: Hein Online | Westlaw | Lexis
  • Secret Reflections: Some Thoughts about Secrets and Court Processes in Child Protection Matters, 45 Ariz. L. Rev. 713 (2003).
    Available at: Hein Online | Westlaw | Lexis
  • The Predicament of the Immigration Victim/Defendant: “VAWA Diversion” and Other Considerations in Support of Battered Women, 14 Hastings Women’s L.J. 1 (2003), reprinted in 24 Immigr. & Nat’lity L. Rev. 567 (2003) and in 23 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 49 (2004).
    Available at: Hein Online | Westlaw | Lexis

For more information contact:

University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
Law Clinics
Rountree Hall 101 1145
N. Mountain Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85719

Phone (520)626-5232
Fax (520) 626-5233

To Request Information 

When classes are in session at the College of Law, most of the cases students work on are assigned to the Clinic by the Juvenile Court or the Family Court.

Generally, the clinic is open September 1st through November 30th and January 30th through April 30th.  The clinic is closed over the summer break, from April 30th to September 1st.

To request more information or to inquire about becoming a new client, call 520-626-5232.