Children and Family
Justice Center
Northwestern Pritzker
School of Law
375 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-3069
312.503.8576 phone
312.503.8977 fax


Children and Family Justice Center

Welcome to the Children and Family Justice Center.

Providing access to justice for youth is a core mission of the Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC). Each year, CFJC faculty, staff and students represent young people on a wide range of matters including delinquency, criminal court, immigration and asylum, resentencing, clemency, and reducing the collateral consequences youth face after coming into contact with the law. Oftentimes, the CFJC gives its young clients access to a lawyer when they otherwise would not have one.

The CFJC also actively collaborates, both locally and nationally, on key policy and law reform initiatives affecting youth and young adults. CFJC attorneys forge deep connections—from the grassroots level all the way up to government agency leadership—to develop fair, effective, and lasting strategies for systems reform.

As a teaching institution, the CFJC trains law students in critical lawyering skills such as interviewing, counseling, investigation, legal writing, negotiation, and oral advocacy. CFJC professors encourage students to step into the role of lawyer and take ownership over their cases and projects, while providing intensive supervision and regular feedback. In the process, students have the unique opportunity to develop both the skills and the confidence they need to become effective lawyers.

As a holistic children’s law center, the CFJC has long provided social work support as an integral part of its legal advocacy. Originally incubated at CFJC, the Bluhm Legal Clinic’s new Social Work Advocacy Program (SWAP) not only provides exceptional service to our clients but serves as a field placement for training masters-level social work students.

Whether advocating in front of judges and policymakers or strategizing in the classroom, the CFJC strives to promote racial equity and reduce incarceration and other harmful approaches to young people.

About the Children and Family Justice Center

Founded in 1992, the Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC) is a comprehensive children's law office and part of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. At the CFJC, attorneys and law students work together to promote justice for children, adolescents, and their families through direct legal representation, policy advocacy and law reform. More...  




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CFJC's "fearless" Shobha L. Mahadev 

The American Bar Association has recognized CFJC’s Shobha L. Mahadev as the “Fearless Children’s Lawyer of the Month.” Shobha’s many accomplishments include working to expand the coalition fighting to end the practice of sentencing youth to prison for the remainder of their lives and — once the U.S. Supreme Court began issuing rulings against life without parole for youth — Shobha helped lead efforts to identify incarcerated individuals in Illinois who qualified for resentencing hearings.

When asked what big challenges remain, Shobha said, “It’s hard when you see it’s a pendulum that swings back and forth. Nothing ever feels permanent, but I think we’ve planted seeds that have allowed for a different way to view sentencing of young people in Illinois.”

Read more about the fearless Shobha L. Mahadev in the ABA’s profile.

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CFJC’s Julie Biehl featured in ABA Journal’s “Members Who Inspire”

The ABA Journal recently highlighted the many accomplishments of the Children and Family Justice Center and our director – Julie Biehl.

The profile – Passion for Justice: Northwestern law prof fights for juvenile rights armed with research – is part of the ABA Journal’s series “Members Who Inspire.”



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