Clinic to Celebrate 30 Years of Child Advocacy

Summer 2011

Nearly 30 years after it was founded, the Child Advocacy Clinic at Columbia Law School continues to mold its students into powerful advocates for New York City’s underserved youths.

Led by Professor Jane M. Spinak, the clinic has focused for the past several years on young people who are aging out of the foster care system. Clinic students have helped clients navigate issues ranging from identity theft to paternity, and, recently, several participants conducted training sessions to enhance financial literacy among youths. In addition, clinic fellow Zac Soto ’10 has built on the work of two former students and assembled an instructional pamphlet explaining how foster children who attend college can continue receiving government benefits until they complete their education. 

“Our students do a tremendous job,” Spinak said. “It is good for them to realize
that being both a problem solver and a counselor to the client are really important
legal skills.”

In other clinic news, the Prisoners and Families Clinic led by Professor Philip M. Genty celebrates 15 years of advocacy in 2011.