Children's Law Clinic

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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.

Cruz Wiles

I enrolled in the Children’s Law Clinic during the fall semester of my 3L year because I needed four credits and my friend convinced me to join him. As it turned out, my participation in the clinic proved to be the most valuable experience of my law school career.

Cruz Wiles ’19

In the News

Clinic Faculty

Crystal Grant

Clinical Professor of Law
Director, Children’s Law Clinic


Peggy Nicholson

Clinical Professor of Law
Supervising Attorney, Children’s Law Clinic


Course description
Clinic student interviewing client
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Children's Law Clinic, 416
Students in this course participate in a legal clinic focused on the representation of low income children and their parents. While the majority of cases will focus on school-related matters, students may also participate in cases involving other issues relating to the health and well-being of children, such as government benefits and limited family law. Students will have an individual case load and will be closely supervised by clinic faculty. Various case assignments can involve client interviewing and counseling, negotiation, informal advocacy, and litigation in administrative hearings or court. 

Contact Us

Children's Law Clinic
Duke Law School
Box 90360
Durham, North Carolina 27708-0360
Phone: (919) 613-7169
Fax: (919) 613-7262