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Special Education Clinic – Rutgers School of Law
The Special Education Clinic was created in 1995 to address the critical shortage of legal assistance for indigent parents of children with disabilities in New Jersey. Clinic students have a substantial impact on the ability of parents to obtain an appropriate education for their children. Clinic law students provide representation and advocacy to parents and caregivers seeking to obtain appropriate early intervention and educational services and placements, and educate parents and others involved in the lives of children with disabilities about their legal rights and responsibilities.
Both second and third-year students appear before administrative law judges in special education proceedings. In addition to gaining advocacy skills at hearings, mediations, conferences and child study team meetings, students draft complaints, motions, and do extensive fact investigation and document review. They also have broad contact with clients, opposing attorneys, experts and others involved with the legal process.
The clinic has developed strong relationships with numerous government agencies, social service organizations and parent groups. This has led to many invitations to hold workshops for family court judges, kinship caregivers, probation officers, law guardians, child welfare workers and parents. Clinic students help prepare instructional materials and conduct parts of the workshops. The clinic also provides training to the bar in an effort to increase the number of lawyers who represent indigent parents and caregivers of children with disabilities.