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Fall 2024 Seminar

Youth Advocacy & Policy Seminar

Prerequisite: By permission of instructors. Interested students should submit a letter of interest (no more than 500 words) and resume to the instructors ( and by June 30, 2024.

Exam Type: No Exam

This seminar is designed for students who are interested in exploring careers in youth advocacy and/or social justice (either immediately after law school or in the future). It will employ a legal lens to consider a variety of social problems impacting children and youth in the United States. The primary learning goal of the seminar is to provide students with a sophisticated understanding of the three primary youth-facing legal systems (education, child welfare, and the juvenile legal system) and how they interact. In addition, the seminar may address other legal systems which, though not designed specifically for children, nonetheless impact their lives in significant ways (e.g., immigration, health care, public benefits). In developing students’ understanding of these systems, the seminar will explore the historical developments, major doctrines, and animating policy debates central to each and help students hone their abilities both to critique existing systems and to envision and design new ones. Through a combination of readings, guest speakers, and interactive in-class activities, the seminar will ground students in the lived experiences of individual children and youth (and the lawyers who advocate with and for them) while also introducing students to the broader theoretical perspectives necessary for understanding the complex and intersecting harms that result from the inequities that characterize youth-facing legal and social systems in the United States. Ample opportunity will be provided in class for students to share about, reflect on, and synthesize their diverse professional, academic, and personal lived experiences with respect to current legal and policy issues facing young people in the U.S. The seminar is designed to help students understand the landscape of practice settings in the youth advocacy field, to grapple with the doctrinal, ethical, and practical dilemmas confronting lawyers in this space, and to build their own professional networks as they consider their future paths.