Instructor(s) Mansfield, Marsha
The Family Court Clinic (FCC) is a hands-on experience for law students, designed to address the challenges presented by the great numbers of unrepresented family law litigants flooding the court system. FCC students provide assistance to these litigants in divorce, post-divorce, paternity, and restraining order matters in Dane County. Students serve as facilitators/mediators, assisting parties through the family court process. Students work at the Dane County Courthouse and at a community office on Madison’s south side. Students staff these offices during the day and evening hours to meet the needs and schedules of Dane County’s working poor. In addition, students represent individuals in carefully chosen family law cases. FCC is a full year commitment, beginning each summer and continuing through the academic year. The application process occurs in November.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES – FAMILY COURT CLINIC
1a. Students will be able to identify, understand, and apply substantive and procedural family laws and regulations as well as civil procedure laws as applied in family law cases.
2a. Students will be able to examine a set of facts, distinguish the various legal and non-legal issues, research them, and prioritize the issues in a verbal report or written memo.
2b. Students will be able to predict (i.e. hypothesize and visualize) how various options which clients could take will be handled by the client, and responded to by the opposing party.
2c. Students will be able to evaluate the various options, estimate the pros and cons, explain these, and recommend a course(s) of action that the could be taken.
3a. Students will develop and refine their own personal definition of what it means to be a professional incorporating the rules of professional conduct and their personal values.
4a. Students will be able to competently conduct an initial client interview as well as intake interviews where the students will spot issues and provide litigants with guidance, information and assistance with court forms.
Feedback both in classroom discussions and in response to drafts of written work and assignments.
Client surveys and court feedback regarding their assessment of the students’ work. (indirect assessment)
At the end of the term, the student will conduct a self-evaluation and I will conduct a review of their portfolio of work, i.e. all their written assignments, client work, and measures of skill and personal growth development.