Student Opportunities

Joining the CFJC team offers students an incredible opportunity to develop practical skills and make a meaningful impact on the lives of children, their families, and communities across Illinois.

Students play an integral role in the Center’s work—from providing direct legal representation to advocating for policy and law reform. Through cases and projects, students develop the skills, experience, and confidence to be effective lawyers regardless of where their careers take them.

The opportunity is open to second- and third-year law students. Additionally, the CFJC serves as a field placement for training social work students from local masters-level programs. More information about these opportunities can be found below.

Law Students

At the CFJC, second- and third-year law students learn about the legal process from top to bottom and put their skills to immediate and important use on behalf of youth most in need of legal representation.

Students work with attorneys, social workers, and affiliated professionals to represent children from under-resourced backgrounds who otherwise would not have access to a lawyer. From meeting with clients to investigating a crime scene to arguing in front of a jury, CFJC cases offer students the opportunity to take on leadership roles and put their lawyering skills to work. Along the way, CFJC clinical professors provide intensive mentorship, coaching, and guidance, ensuring students have the support they need to provide exceptional service to their clients.

Through coursework and contribution to CFJC cases, students learn to:

  • Interview clients, witnesses, and other stakeholders
  • Conduct pre-trial investigations
  • Write effective memoranda, motions, petitions, and briefs
  • Deliver oral advocacy and arguments
  • Negotiate on behalf of clients
  • Bring leadership, professionalism, and innovation to cases and projects
  • Collaborate with team members, such as peers, clients, social workers, law firm partners, agency representatives, policy stakeholders, and other professionals integral to case success

In addition to strengthening their practical skills, students develop meaningful client relationships and impact lives through holistic representation. While providing our clients with access to a lawyer is a powerful step toward justice, representation alone is often not enough. Many CFJC clients are navigating a range of issues—from lack of housing to unemployment to poor health—that hinder their ability to participate effectively in their cases. By linking clients with essential services and support, our students help disadvantaged youth have a better chance at receiving equal justice. In the process, students connect with communities throughout Chicago and gain a firsthand look at the way youth and families across the city are impacted by the criminal justice system.

Social Work Students

For social work students from local masters' level programs, CFJC provides an incredible learning opportunity as well. Enhance your academics by obtaining real world experience assisting CFJC’s lawyers and law students with interviewing clients, accessing community based services, and transitioning youth from incarceration to home.