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Goals – Juvenile Defense

The core mission of the Juvenile Defense Clinic is to foster the professional development of its students, to represent the expressed interests of its indigent juvenile clients zealously and effectively, and to help build the capacity of Louisiana’s juvenile justice system through the development of practice-ready juvenile advocates. Accordingly, all aspects of the clinic are designed around the following goals:

  • To provide high quality, holistic representation based on best practices in juvenile defense to the clinic’s indigent clients.
  • To offer intensive training to student attorneys in a broad range of valuable lawyering skills and professional values transferable outside of the juvenile defense context to all areas of litigation and legal practice generally.
  • To encourage the discipline of self-reflection and self-adjustment as critical skills for continuous professional improvement after graduation.
  • To foster a thorough understanding of the substantive and procedural rights and protections available to juvenile defendants in Louisiana and their applicability throughout the entire juvenile court process.
  • To explore intensely the key features of adolescent development and their scientific underpinnings, the legal and practical implications of these developmental concepts at all stages of delinquency proceedings, and strategies for ensuring client-centered expressed interest representation in light of the not yet fully developed capacities of juvenile clients.
  • To expose students to cutting edge issues in the field of juvenile justice and to give students both a theoretical and practical understanding of the underlying principles driving juvenile justice reform and policy work in Louisiana and across the nation.
  • To increase the overall capacity of the juvenile justice system to serve youth by encouraging students upon graduation to remain involved in the representation of accused juveniles and the improvement of the juvenile justice system generally, no matter what their role or area of practice.