Colorado Law taking students to India for hands-on clinic

By Staff

For the first time, the University of Colorado Law School's Juvenile and Family Law Program will take a group of 15 students to India for a hands-on clinical application of the family law curriculum.

The trip, set for March 17-24, will culminate with a capstone research paper comparing one of four specific areas of family and juvenile law: sex trafficking, child abuse, women's rights and domestic violence.

"These are issues that affect countries all over the world," said Colene Robinson, clinical professor at Colorado Law. "However, it brings new meaning to an issue when students can see how global issues such as sex trafficking affects us locally."

Robinson, along with Associate Professor Clare Huntington, designed the class to provide students with an in-depth opportunity to tie together the materials they have studied in various courses and further develop their understanding in a global context. Students have coordinated their efforts with the National Law School in Bangalore, which has a similar curriculum. They also have been involved in all aspects of the course, from the development of classroom materials to participating on a fundraising and logistics committee.

After studying about women's rights, child abuse, sex trafficking and domestic violence in the United States and India, students will spend five working days in India applying what they have learned in a real-world context. Students will visit several nongovernmental offices (similar to nonprofit service providers in the United States), including the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) and the Alternative Law Forum (ALF).

Students also will travel to the city of Mysore, South India, to visit Odanadi Seva Trust, one of the oldest social organizations working for the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficked women and children.

Upon their return, students will prepare a research paper comparing an aspect of U.S. and Indian law within the four areas of focus. Students also will do in-country research on their individual topics, writing papers that they could not have written from within the four walls of the Law School.

"It is both fascinating and gratifying to observe the students using the tools they have learned in law school, and the specific knowledge they have gained through the Juvenile and Family Law curriculum, in this entirely new context," Huntington said. "I am confident the comparative experience will make the students better lawyers because they will have a more nuanced understanding of different legal approaches to similar problems."