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Joseph F. Rice School of Law

  • Children's Law Concentration Breakfast Award Recipients

Children’s Law Concentration

The University of South Carolina Joseph F. Rice School of Law is a national leader among law schools in this fast-growing and rewarding area of practice. 

Offering J.D. students a way to concentrate their studies on areas of law that benefit children and families, the Childrens Law Concentration program covers family law, juvenile justice, education law, and child protection and welfare.

Students who complete the curriculum will receive a certificate of concentration, recognizing their achievement. The concentration will also be noted on their law school transcript.

Students who participate in the Children’s Law Concentration:

  • Choose from a variety of classes in the areas of child protection, education law, juvenile justice, and family law
  • Receive informal advisement and mentoring from experienced law faculty
  • Attend seminars and special events with experts in childrens legal issues
  • Get career counseling and information about prospective employers throughout the United States

For CLC requirements and forms, please visit the program details pages.

Opportunities for Students

USC offers four clinics in the arena of childrens law. All clinical work will be under the supervision of an experienced clinical faculty member and attorney.

The CHAMPS clinic will provide students with the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary learning and community engagement in the context of live-client legal cases. More specifically, students will take legal cases on behalf of low income families referred from Palmetto Health and Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group. These cases will address the social-determinants of clients health. The law students will work collaboratively on these legal cases with doctors, social workers and other health professionals.

This course will train students to assume the role of lawyer and introduce them to domestic violence law. Through classroom discussion, simulations, assigned readings, and fieldwork, the course will cover central concepts of laws governing emergency orders of protection and affirmative domestic violence-related immigration remedies, such as U Visas, VAWA Self-Petitions, and Battered Spouse Waivers, and give students an opportunity to apply their knowledge by representing clients seeking these forms of relief. Students will have an opportunity to develop legal skills, including: interviewing and counseling clients; fact investigation; legal research, writing and analysis; case strategy; negotiations; and courtroom advocacy, as well as professional and life skills related to legal practice. The course will also give students an opportunity to consider the broader context of their individual cases through class discussion and community-based projects, which may include know-your-rights presentations, limited advice and assistance clinics, and policy research. 

The clinic helps special-needs children and their families get access to equal educational opportunity, handling legal issues ranging from disability eligibility and entitlement to services, to developing adequate Individualized Education Programs and discipline matters.

Student attorneys in the Youth Defender Clinic represent teenagers accused of crimes and status offenses in Richland and Lexington County Family Court. Student attorneys interview and counsel clients, investigate and research cases, prepare for trials, negotiate with solicitors and the Department of Juvenile Justice, and advocate for clients in and out of court at all stages of a case from intake through disposition. 


Students enrolled in the Childrens Law Externship may work with various government agencies involving children's issues. Typically, students assist lawyers with research and drafting and they will have the opportunity to observe lawyering skills such as interviewing, counseling, and negotiation.

Previous placements include:

  • Aiken County Department of Social Services
  • Beaufort County School District
  • Berkeley County School District
  • Catawba Nation
  • Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children
  • Kershaw County Department of Social Services
  • Kershaw County Guardian Ad Litem
  • Lexington County Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Lexington County Department of Social Services
  • Lexington County Public Defender
  • Newberry County Department of Social Services
  • Palmetto Center for Children's Legal Access
  • Richland County CASA
  • Richland County Public Defender
  • Richland County Public Defender’s Office — Juvenile Justice Re-Entry Program
  • Richland County Solicitor
  • Richland County Department of Social Services
  • Richland School District One
  • South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center
  • South Carolina Attorney General’s Office of Human Trafficking
  • South Carolina Department of Children’s Advocacy
  • South Carolina Department of Education
  • South Carolina Department of Social Services — In-House Counsel
  • South Carolina Legal Services

The Children’s Advocacy Law Society is a student organization created to promote awareness of and educate law students about the many aspects of law affecting children. The Society aims to increase student involvement with organizations that provide legal services for and advance the rights of children. It is the goal of the Childrens Advocacy Law Society to produce members well informed and well educated about the legal needs and rights of children, ready to enter the legal profession as able and active childrens advocates.

Our Affiliation with USC’s Children's Law Center

The Childrens Law Center was established in 1995 and provides over 300 training programs a year for attorneys, case workers, guardians ad litem, and law enforcement. The Children’s Law Center is right across the street from the new law school building and has close partnerships with the school, including placement opportunities and a fellowship for recent graduates.

I had the opportunity to advocate for a family in front of a judge and conduct intake interviews to determine if a case was one our attorneys could take on. I feel really passionate about using my skills on a larger scale, and after graduating, I want to continue in child advocacy, working with older kids caught in juvenile delinquency cases. It’s great to be fulfilling the dream that I've had for so long.

Carmen Ledesma, Class of 2015
Carmen Ledesma Headshot

Contact Us

Stephanie Nye

Director of Externships

Stephanie Nye
1525 Senate Street, Room 311
Columbia, SC 29208


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