Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2014


Legal clinics


Family Law | Legal Education


This paper describes a clinical component recently added to the course in Family Law at Cornell Law School. Students who are either co-registered for or have previously taken Family Law receive an extra two credits for clinical work under the instructor's supervision. Each student undertakes to represent at least one client, who is referred from Neighborhood Legal Services, from the initial client interview through drafting, filing and service of the many documents required to obtain a final judgment for dissolution of marriage in New York State. In order to complete this work in one semester, the students do relatively simple divorces that will result in a default judgment. In addition to obtaining a divorce judgment on behalf of a client, students are required to staff a desk in the local family court for three hours a week in rotation, to assist persons filling out petitions for support, modification of support, or for violation of a support order.