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
Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Child and Family Law Clinic
Paul Bennett joined the College of Law in 1996 as the first Director of the Child Advocacy Clinic. In 2009, the Child Advocacy Clinic merged with the Domestic Violence Law Clinic to form the multi-disciplinary Child and Family Law Clinic.
In addition to Clinical Legal Education, Professor Bennett teaches classes in Family Law, Trial Advocacy, Law and Humanities, Juvenile Law and Professional Responsibility. In 2010, along with Professor Tom Mauet, Professor Bennett was chosen by Arizona Law students to receive the John Strong Teaching Award.
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. He is a member of the nationally recognized Model Court Working Committee and has chaired its subcommittees on Children's Voice and on Parent-Child Visitation. 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 the Co-Director with Professor Kenney Hegland of the Himelic Juvenile Detention Teaching Program in which law students teach weekend programs for children in lock up. He and Professor Hegland also direct the Arizona Law Camp in which high school students are brought to campus for a week of law related activities designed to stimulate their interest in the law and in continuing their education.
Professor Bennett is the co-author with Professor Kenney Hegland of A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Lawyer (West Pub. 2012).
From 2004 to 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.
Last, and most important, Professor Bennett is the grandfather of five-year-old Hadyn and two-year-old Damian, 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.
- Arizona Rules of Protective Order Procedure
- Myths and realities of domestic abuse
- Power and control wheel
- 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
- Arizona Supreme Court (Public Access to Court Information)
- Pima County Superior Court
- Pima County Juvenile Court
- Pima County Justice Court
- Tucson City Court
- Pima County Sheriff’s Department Jail & Inmate Information
- Arizona Department of Corrections Inmate Data Search
- Arizona Department of Child Safety
- Arizona Department of Economic Security Child Support Services
- Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- Arizona Voice for Crime Victims, Inc.
- National Crime Victim Law Institute
Thank you for volunteering to become a supervising attorney for law students conducting initial client interviews in the Child and Family Law Clinic. The typical time commitment for a semester is two or three client interviews scheduled on a Tuesday or Thursday evening between 5:30 and 7:30.
Please find enclosed an outline that has been provided to the students as a guide on the client intake and interview process. The outline may be helpful to your understanding of our procedure and student expectations and responsibilities.
The Clinic Administrator will be contacting you to coordinate and schedule the client interviews that you will be supervising. Prior to the interview there are two forms that we need for you to sign, a volunteer confidentiality agreement and a certification of State Bar of Arizona membership in good standing. Enclosed you will find a copy of the relevant portions of Arizona Supreme Court Rule 38(d)(8) that relate to your role as a supervising attorney.
The clients that contact the Clinic for services have a myriad of legal issues that usually stem from an abusive relationship with an intimate partner. It is not uncommon for clients to have concerns relating to domestic violence protection orders, criminal prosecution and defense, divorce, child custody, child welfare, child support, housing, employment, and immigration. In your role as supervising attorney you can help the law students identify the issues involved. Enclosed you will find a publication produced by the American Bar Association, Commission on Domestic Violence, titled Comprehensive Issue Spotting: A Tool for Civil Attorneys Representing Victims of Domestic & Dating Violence, Sexual Assault & Stalking. The clients are informed at the start of the interview that the primary purpose for the session is information gathering and issue spotting. The clients are informed that the students may need to complete some research on issues so that legal advice can be provided after the interview. Supervising attorneys are not expected to provide legal advice in areas outside of their level of comfort or expertise. Of course, if you are able to help the law student provide legal advice to the client during the interview, then that is always welcome.
Do you want to help survivors of domestic violence? Te gustaria ayudar las victimas de violencia domestica? Do you Speak Spanish? Hablas espanol? We Need Your Help! Necesitamos tu ayuda!
The Child & Family Law Clinic is looking for Spanish language interpreters for up to four hours per week to interpret client interviews and/or to translate legal documents for our Spanish speaking Clients. Estamos buscando interpretes de espanol para trabajar cuatro horas o menos a la semana traduciendo entrevistas con los clientes y tambien traduciendo documentos legales. Minimum requirements include 2 years prior language interpretation and translation experience OR a Master's Degree in Spanish or other equivalent experience or education. Los requerimientos minimos incluyen 2 anos de experiencia interpretando y traduciendo, u la maestria de espanol, U otra experiencia y educacion equivalente. Only Current University of Arizona or Arizona State University Students are eligible to apply. Solo estudiantes actualmente matriculado en la Universidad de Arizona o la Universidad del Estado de Arizona deberan aplicar.
For more information contact:
University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
Rountree Hall 101 1145
N. Mountain Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85719
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.
The clinic is located at 1145 N. Mountain Avenue, Tucson, Arizona, 85719.