Family Justice Clinic
Through a partnership between the University of Idaho College of Law and FACES of Hope (FACES), a non-profit in Boise which seeks to facilitate a coordinated community response to interpersonal violence in a single location, the Family Justice Clinic (FJC), provides U of I law students the opportunity to develop their legal skills while providing free legal assistance to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, child abuse and elder abuse.
About the Clinic
In January 2018, the FJC began operating not as a clinic, but a Semester in Practice, by accepting its first two U of I law students. In Fall 2019, the Family Justice Clinic officially became the sixth legal clinic offered at U of I Law.
Students in their third year at U of I are able to take the lessons learned in the classroom and assist in the full representation of survivors of domestic and sexual violence. From the initial application, interviews and drafting of pleadings to the negotiation with opposing counsel and trial, students handle all aspects of the client’s civil case.
The vast majority of clinical work is completed at a dedicated office within FACES, rather than within the law school itself. By working within FACES, students have the opportunity to work with other professionals advocating for those impacted by interpersonal violence, including a Special Victim Unit of the Boise Police Department, investigators of child abuse with the Department of Health and Welfare, medical professionals with St. Luke’s and St. Alphonsus, victim advocates, counselors and many others. The immersion with the various community resources provides a unique opportunity for U of I students to not only gain real world legal experience but to make an impact in the lives of many of those abused and victimized in and around Boise.
I have loved coming to the clinic and feeling like every day I am accomplishing something good and helping those who truly need it. It feels great to make a difference in people’s lives. I signed up for the Family Justice Clinic because I wanted to change the world around me for the better, and I feel like I am doing that.Nathan Askins, 3L Student Fall 2019
About the Director
Joining the U of I Law faculty in November 2017, Assistant Professor Michael Carney oversees the Family Justice Clinic as its clinical director and staff attorney. For more than 17 years, he has been involved in advocacy for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. As an undergraduate at Central Michigan University, he was heavily involved in the Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates student group. Through this organization, he advocated and assistant in running a 24/7 crisis line for students and surrounding community members to call when in crisis as a result of domestic or sexual violence.
After graduating from the University of Missouri School of Law in 2010, he began his career with Mid-Missouri Legal Services, Corp. in Columbia, MO. MMLS is LSC-funded program providing free civil legal services to low-income individuals. Over the course of the next 7 years, he actively litigated hundreds of cases, including divorce, custody, paternity, evictions, and protection orders, among many others. In 2011, he began an externship program in conjunction with Mizzou Law where advanced law students assist in providing legal representation in housing-related matters. In August 2012, he was hired as an adjunct professor at Mizzou Law, where he led a practicum in housing law and taught a course state and federal landlord/tenant law. Throughout all of this, he continued to support the Mizzou Family Violence Clinic through guest lectures and supervision of law students in representation in protection order cases.
How to apply
The program will continue as a Semester in Practice for the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters. Students at the time of completing the externship/SIP/program, must be 3Ls in good standing. Further, they must apply and be approved for a limited-license through the Idaho Bar and successfully complete a background check. Students must apply and are selected by the program director after an interview process.
To apply, please send Michael Carney via email a brief cover letter explaining your interest and your current resume. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and the positions will remain open until all positions are filled. In your cover letter/email please indicate your preferred semester (Fall or Spring) and whether you would like to be considered for either semester.
Individuals needing assistance can apply by appearing in person at FACES between 8 and 5, M-F or can contact us at 208-577-4495 for more information.
Beginning in Jan. 2018, the College of Law has partnered with Faces of Hope in Boise to provide legal services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The program provides law students the chance to take the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom and put them in action by representing survivors in various civil legal issues including divorce, custody, housing, and attaining of protection orders. Students interview clients and witnesses, draft pleadings, negotiate with opposing counsel and advocate in court. By working closely with the program’s professor and licensed attorney, Michael Carney, students learn to engage in client-centered representation and exercise strategic judgment.
Our partnership with Faces of Hope is one example of the College’s dedication to providing students both with meaningful experiential learning opportunities while still at the College, as well as opportunities to have real and significant impacts on the lives of their clients. Faces of Hope is a wonderful collaboration of legal, medical, counseling, and law enforcement providers, and the College is honored to be able to participate and provide as much assistance as we can.
The FJC is an amazing program not just for law students, but also for members of the community. The hands-on experience you receive is irreplaceable. We are able to work directly with clients and represent them throughout the entirety of their case. The hardest part of working at the Family Justice Clinic is knowing how many victims of sexual and domestic violence will not be able get the legal services they need. The fact that we have to turn away so many is a true testament to the on-going need for the Clinic and the services it provides to the community.Kirsten Heninger, 3L FJC Student Fall 2019