2017 - 2018 Student News: Child Advocacy Clinic

              FALL 2017 - Spring 2018                 

The hearing is NOT happening – until it does. After the District Attorney assured Child Advocacy Student Attorneys Ayu Fitzgerald and Victoria Petty that the 14 day hearing would be continued to a new date, the Judge begged to differ. But Ayu and Victoria had already learned the facts of their case and were ready. Ayu examined two witnesses and Victoria was about to examine another when the Judge decided they were right – and gave our client the relief Ayu and Victoria thought was in his best interests. Congratulations Ayu and Victoria!

What’s in a name? Ask Child Advocacy Clinic Chief Counsel, Tasheena Byrd, who represented one of our clients in a recent hearing to get his name changed to reflect what his true name should be. With the name change order, his grandmother caregiver could get his social security card changed, get him recognized by the Choctaw Nation for his ¼ Choctaw blood, get him the benefits that come with that heritage, and achieve the same results for his sibling. Names matter. Great job Tasheena!

Child Advocacy Clinic lawyers advocate for children early and often! Student Attorneys David Parsi and Lauren Pfieffer started their semester off at a fast pace when they were assigned a case that had a 14 day hearing" the first week of class. They had to investigate, meet witnesses, interview them, and analyze what the best result would be for client, while literally putting together the case file. They walked into court that morning prepared and ready to advocate for their client. Way to go David and Lauren!
Real vs. As Seen on TV Lawyers.  Kyle Kertz, and Erin Leamon had a case in the Spring semester where Erin examined an important witness in a “14 Day Hearing.” Examining witnesses is something of an art form, and the lawyers on television make it seem so easy.   But TV witnesses are scripted to say exactly what the lawyer wants. Not so in real life!  Erin formulated questions, listened, and adapted as her witness answered. And, ultimately, Erin and Kyle got the relief that the other parties resisted, but that they believe will serve our client’s best interests.
When one Case Closes Another Sometimes Opens.  Juliann Wilbar advocated for her clients all semester – brothers who were 17 and 2. She worked to ensure that when the “termination” phase of the case came to a close, each of them received the relief best for them – and that was suited for their very different needs.  Although that part of the case closed, one of her clients will still be our client until he ages out of the foster care system. Juliann will continue her work for him advocating for and supporting him during this critical phase of his life when she returns in the Fall as one of the Clinic’s Chief Counsel.
A Podcast to Provide a Voice for Aged Out Foster Youth.  Over the past four semesters, Clinic student lawyers worked diligently to prepare a podcast to give former foster youth a voice and a venue to make their own “calls to action: “Aged Out:  The Stories that Built Us.”  The Spring class advanced this project over to the brink of the finish line by completing enough foster youth stories for the podcast to launch in the Fall.  Clinic students even were interviewed by WFAA TV about the project. Watch for our launch in the Fall!