Hofstra Law’s Child & Family Advocacy Fellowship Program

 In Fall 2018, Family Law, Uncategorized

The Child and Family Advocacy Fellowship at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University was established in 2002 as a comprehensive and interdisciplinary education program for law students committed to making a positive impact on the lives of children and families. Since its inception, the program has graduated almost 60 Fellows. In addition to working in New York, Fellows are now working in many states across the country, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. They are working as assistant district attorneys, public defenders, child advocates, matrimonial attorneys, court attorneys, and education lawyers. We are fortunate to have such a vast and supportive network of Fellowship alumni who we regularly call on to speak with our current Fellows and we strive to continually build on that sense of community as we know the benefits those relationships can have.

Students apply to the Fellowship program as incoming students and a selection committee of faculty and administration, and often alumni, review the applications and interview candidates.  As Assistant Dean for Experiential Programs and in my prior positions at Hofstra Law, I have been interviewing candidates for 12 years now and it continues to be something I look forward to every year. It is both exciting and inspiring to meet each candidate and hear their professional aspirations and vision for how they see themselves improving the life of a child and his or her family. Beyond passion for child advocacy, we look for dedication to public service, academic achievement, and leadership qualities. Each year we select between three and five Fellows and with full participation in the Fellowship program, they will maintain their Fellowship throughout their three years at Hofstra Law.

After completing their required first year curriculum, our Fellows begin their summer internships. Their search for an internship placement is guided and supported by the program faculty and staff and each Fellow is assured an internship in the field of family law. A stipend of $7,500 is provided to each Fellow to support their living expenses during the summer on the condition that they pursue a family law placement in the public sector. Throughout the summer, Fellows maintain a dialogue with program faculty and staff through weekly journals. For many Fellows, it is their first exposure to the field and it is a way for them to think about the work they are doing and to react to what they are seeing. They return to Hofstra Law in the fall with a renewed sense of commitment and a sharper vision of their professional path.

In the second and third years, Fellows can select from a wide variety of family law and related courses, including Family Law, Child Abuse & Neglect, Domestic Violence, Modern Divorce Advocacy, Immigration, Mediation Principles & Practice, Special Education Law, and many more. In addition, our Fellows can choose from several family law related clinics and externship opportunities, including the Youth Advocacy Clinic, the Deportation Defense Clinic, the Immigration Clinic, the Mediation Externship, and the Family Law Practicum. Finally, many of our Fellows are selected to join the staff of the Family Court Review, a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal published under the auspices of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). Whether or not they are selected for the Family Court Review staff, we strongly encourage our Fellows to undertake a substantial research and writing project on a family law topic, under the advisement of one of our Fellowship program faculty.

We are proud of what our Fellowship program, its alumni and current students have accomplished over the last 16 years and look forward to the years ahead. Individuals interested in learning more about the fellowship can visit our webpage at http://law.hofstra.edu/Fellowships  or contact me directly at Franca.Sachs@hofstra.edu

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