Rutgers Law's Clinical Program in Camden is a teaching law firm staffed by faculty and students. Each year, the clinics handle over one hundred cases and student attorneys provide more than 20,000 hours of free legal services to the Camden community. All of our clinics are designed to assist lower income individuals who otherwise would have difficulty obtaining representation . In addition to providing valuable legal services to the Camden Community, the Clinical Program challenges students to apply legal theory to the problems of real people and to reflect on the day-to-day challenges of legal practice. Students enrolled in one of the clinics have primary responsibility for the representation of clients with intensive supervision from clinical faculty who are admitted to practice in New Jersey. Rutgers Law presently offers five clinics in Camden, as follows:
The Child and Family Advocacy Clinic provides direct representation to children in child abuse and neglect cases in Family Court in Camden. Students in that clinic may also represent children in administrative hearings and proceedings regarding public benefits, education, immigration, medical and mental health issues.Through advocacy in court and other venues, students will help ensure that the child welfare system is sufficiently addressing the safety, permanency and well-being needs of the clients. The ultimate goal for most, if not all, clients will be to help make sure each child has a loving, safe, and permanent home.
The Children's Justice Clinic at the School of Law represents youth facing delinquency charges in New Jersey's family courts. The CJC handles a wide range of cases from minor theft charges or possession of marijuana to complex aggravated assaults. In addition to handling a delinquency case from the point of arrest, students also have the opportunity to represent youth in school hearings and to do Post Disposition Representation (visiting youth who have been committed to a residential program or to New Jersey's Juvenile Justice Commission. During Post Disposition Representation student attorneys will ensure that the rehabilitative services the Family Court Judge ordered are being received). Referrals are accepted form the community.
The Civil Practice Clinic, the law school's oldest clinical program, has been serving the legal needs of Camden residents since 1993. The Civil Practice Clinic is a general practice clinic that has the capacity to handle a wide variety of cases for l ow-income and elderly clients in Camden. It specializes in consumer protection and predatory lending cases; landlord/tenant disputes, family law, wills and advanced directives, benefits cases, and a variety of other legal matters.
The Domestic Violence Clinic provides legal advice and representation to victims of domestic violence who are struggling to break free of the cycle of abuse. Students enrolled in the clinic represent people seeking domestic violence restraining orders in Camden County. The Domestic Violence clinic partners with the Domestic Violence Pro Bono Project, a program staffed by volunteer law students who offer free legal information to people seeking restraining orders who are proceeding without the benefit of legal representation . Volunteers in this program create and distribute valuable educational and safety planning materials to the community free of charge.
Federal Prisoner Reentry Clinic provides direct representation and advice and counsel to formally incarcerated individuals on probation from the Federal Corrections System. The Clinic presently partners with the ReNew Camden Reentry Team, a combined effort by the Federal Courts, Office of Federal Probation, US Attorney's Office and the Federal Public Defender to increase opportunities for paroled individuals identified as being significantly at-risk for recidivism, reduce recidivism and assist identified individuals in reintegrating to society.
The Rutgers Immigrant Justice Clinic (IJC), founded in 2012, represents clients in matters at the intersection between immigration law and New Jersey law, and has engaged in training, community education, and policy advocacy. Currently, the IJC is one of the only non-profits in South Jersey providing free legal services to immigrants in removal proceedings. The majority of the clinic's clients are children, most of whom are in removal proceedings as a result of having been stopped at the border while crossing on their own without parents, or because immigration authorities were notified as a result of an arrest. In a unique partnership, IJC and CJC students have been collaborating to provide holistic representation to these immigrant children in both delinquency and removal proceedings.
We have developed several courses that integrate real client or real practice into the classroom. We refer to these new developments as "hybrid clinics." Some of these courses involve direct client services while others involve a partnership with an external governmental or nonprofit entity. Students in a hybrid clinic work on matters under intensive supervision by a member of the faculty, as do students in an in-house clinic. What distinguishes these courses is the level of individual responsibility that a student bears for the client, or external partner's work. In most instances, the supervision is structured such that the students' experience is very much like that of an associate working for a supervising attorney or partner. These courses also allow the professor to spend more time on legal doctrine as appropriate. Presently, these courses include Advanced Legal Writing: Community Based Practice, International Human Rights Advocacy, Public Interest Research and Writing, Interviewing and Counseling: Community Reentry Practicum and Small Business Counseling.