Children's Advocacy Clinic receives pro bono award from Super Lawyers magazine
February 11, 2014
The Children’s Advocacy Clinic at Penn State Dickinson School of Law has been named a recipient of a 2013 Super Lawyers Pro Bono Award.
"Our focus in the Children’s Advocacy Clinic is always on children and on making their voices heard and their needs matter in the legal system,” said Lucy Johnston-Walsh, director of the Children’s Advocacy Clinic, who is “delighted” by the award. “I look forward to continued work on behalf of the most vulnerable members of society and take pride in creating the next generation of child advocates.”
The annual Super Lawyers Pro Bono Awards honor individual lawyers, law firms, law students, law schools and other institutions in the legal profession that exemplify excellence in practice through delivery of volunteer legal services to the poor, underrepresented or exploited. The 2013 recipients were chosen by a review committee which evaluated legal effort, personal contribution, impact to the law and innovation. Law students and law programs were evaluated on additional factors such as community outreach and leadership. While the Clinic represents children in abuse and dependency matters, they also undertake policy work on behalf of foster children.
Third-year Tiffany LoBello worked on about fifteen cases while in the clinic. She said she not only gained confidence, but she “found her passion.”
“Working at the Children’s Clinic for a year has solidified my desire to be an advocate for children and open my eyes to a new rewarding area of law,” said LoBello. “The absolute most rewarding part of walking away from my time at the clinic is that my oldest client, who is 18 years old, told me that she was so glad that I was a part of her life and that all my work and passion made a difference in her life. She understands the system and the people coming in and out of her life, but to make a true connection and have gained her trust and honesty is what I believe advocating for children is all about.”
A Multidisciplinary Approach
Founded in 2006 under the direction of Professor Lucy Johnston-Walsh, the Children’s Advocacy Clinic provides students with access to faculty members from across Penn State, including the disciplines of medicine, psychology, sociology and education — to address legal and non-legal issues associated with their young clients. Children are represented by both a law student and a graduate social work student who use a team approach to address each child’s needs. Clinic students also receive help in understanding medical issues, psychiatric matters, and patient files from pediatric medical residents at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.