In the Guardian Ad Litem Appellate Advocacy Clinic, students work under the supervision of a faculty member to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in appeals of juvenile matters in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and North Carolina Supreme Court. These matters are assigned to the clinic by the Guardian Ad Litem Appellate Counsel for the state. In this clinic, students learn key principles of juvenile law and also develop and hone their analytical, legal writing, legal research and advocacy skills.
Students in the Guardian Ad Litem Clinic generally are assigned one or two appellate advocacy cases per term. Classroom sessions include instruction on relevant North Carolina statutory and case law related to abused and neglected children and the appellate rules of North Carolina generally and specific to juvenile cases.
The faculty member supervising the clinic meets with students outside of the classroom to discuss the case, formulate strategies and issues to pursue on the appeal, formulate a research strategy, outline arguments for the brief, review drafts of the brief and finalize the brief before submission to the appellate court.
In handling an appeal, the members of the class do many or all of the following:
- review trial transcripts and juvenile records;
- review the record on appeal;
- respond to appellate motions and writs;
- draft and file Guardian ad Litem Appellee Briefs;
- fulfill statutory mandates to provide and promote the best interests of juveniles in appellate proceedings;
- provide a voice for abused and neglected children in North Carolina;
- and, help achieve safety and permanency in a child’s life.
Like all of Elon Law’s clinics, the Guardian ad Litem Appellate Advocacy Clinic provides students the opportunity to gain substantive knowledge and practical skills, while also serving clients and the community by providing much needed pro bono legal services.