Children's Law Clinic
The Children’s Law Clinic provides free legal advice, advocacy, and legal representation to low-income, at-risk children in cases involving special education, school discipline, and children’s disability benefits.
The clinic is staffed by Duke Law students who bring their compassion, commitment, and energy to the task of advocating for at-risk children. One of the few programs in North Carolina with expertise in special education and school discipline law, it has represented hundreds of children from a wide region around Durham since its establishment in 2002. Most cases involve children with disabilities and other special needs who have been unable to get appropriate special education services or who are facing long-term suspensions from school. The clinic also helps families establish eligibility for important public benefit programs or find ways to live in more stable family situations. Students work directly with the child as well as families, schools, social workers, and health professionals to resolve issues and ensure the child’s well-being.
The Children’s Law Clinic has an active role in the Medical-Legal Partnership for Families in Durham. Partnering with Legal Aid of North Carolina, Duke Primary Care for Children, and Lincoln Community Health Clinic, the clinic provides legal help in a wide range of issues that affect the overall well-being of its clients. Doctors and other professionals refer their patients to the clinic to provide holistic support for the child and his or her family. As a team, the medical provider and legal provider can help a disabled child obtain needed benefits or avoid losing them.
The Children's Law Clinic has empowered me to build skills in interviewing, negotiating, client counseling, and case strategy and development. More importantly, I’ve had the opportunity to develop as a culturally responsive lawyer, and this development will only continue after law school.
The Children's Law Clinic has released a new report that sheds light on discipline trends in North Carolina's charter schools. The report, which is the first of its kind to focus specifically on charter school discipline in the state, revealed several key findings relating to the use of suspension among charters. It also uncovered correlations between the racial demographics of charter schools and their use of suspension. Clinic students Ryan Yang '21 and Richard Yang '22 drafted the report under the supervision of Supervising Attorney Peggy Nicholson.
In the News
Clinical Professor of Law
Director, Children’s Law Clinic
Clinical Professor of Law
Supervising Attorney, Children’s Law Clinic