Congressman Coble discusses clinical law programs with Elon Law students
U.S. Representative Howard Coble, dean of the North Carolina delegation to Congress, met with Elon Law students on November 9 to discuss the school's clinical law programs in juvenile justice mediation and wills drafting.
Elon Law's Juvenile Justice Intervention and Mediation Clinic, established in August of 2009, is funded in part by a $223,000 grant from the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Congressman Coble was instrumental in obtaining these funds.
George R. Johnson, Jr., dean of Elon University School of Law, said that the federal funds provided for the program would help students and clients throughout the region.
"On behalf of the faculty, students, and administration of Elon Law, I thank Congressman Coble for his efforts to obtain these funds to support Elon Law's new Juvenile Justice Intervention and Mediation Clinic," Johnson says. "Congressman Coble's efforts were important in the creation of this clinic, and our students, as well as the clients they serve, will benefit from these resources."
The clinic allows law students to provide mediation services for victims and offenders in juvenile crime cases as an alternative to criminal prosecution. During Coble's visit, law students described the value of the Juvenile Justice Clinic, emphasizing the concept of restorative justice.
"The focus is not just on the offender, but also on the victim, integrating them into the whole process and giving them a voice in the outcome of the case, bringing back a sense of empowerment to them, seeking to heal the damage done to all the parties," said third year law student Jessica Cooper.
Coble, the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy and a member of both the Greensboro Bar Association and the North Carolina Bar Association, expressed confidence in the law school and its program of study.
"I'm excited about Elon Law," Coble said. "I appreciate what all of you are doing and achieving here. I encourage you to thank your professors, who are interested in nurturing you and bringing you along in the practice of law."
The Juvenile Justice Clinic currently serves Guilford County, Judicial District 18, and will serve Alamance County, Judicial District 15A, in future years. Elon Law will partner with numerous organizations to operate a clinic that meets the needs of the community, including Guilford County Schools, regional courts, district attorneys, police and social services departments, and non-profit organizations in the region working to address juvenile delinquency.
Third year law student Greg Evans spoke with Coble about the educational value of the clinical programs at Elon Law.
"Here, we're actually learning the how to practice law," Evans said. "I feel completely confident, the day after I get sworn in, meeting with a client and drafting any of these documents for them. That's a great feeling to have, knowing that when I graduate I can actually do something as opposed to knowing the rules and then going out and meeting with people and trying to figure out how to do it."
The Juvenile Justice Clinic is Elon Law's second clinical law program, joining the law school's Wills Clinic. Elon Law also houses an externship program that includes a Housing and Domestic Relations Field Placement program, operated in partnership with Legal Aid of North Carolina, and Judicial and Criminal Law externship programs with courts and public defenders offices across North Carolina.