Colene Robinson

Co-Director of Juvenile and Family Law Program

Please tell us about a piece of your scholarship or your teaching that you are passionate about and that is related to public service.

I am passionate about my clinical class, the Juvenile Law Clinic, where student attorneys represent clients in child welfare cases and delinquency cases.  I really enjoy working closely with students as we grapple with the thorny issues facing families in Juvenile Court.

How are students involved in your public service work? 

Students are assigned cases and I supervise them. Students advocate for clients in court, in administrative staffings, at schools, in communities, and wherever they need us.  Students learn about the law in juvenile justice, child welfare, education, indian child welfare, immigration, domestic relations, and public benefits.

What motivated you to become involved in public service work?

I love working with young people who need a strong advocate on their side, who face incredible odds to achieve what they want in life.  Watching them make progress towards their goals, and perhaps helping along the way, is incredibly satisfying.

Did you have any experiences in law school that influenced your interest in public service?

I knew I wanted to be a child advocate when I went to law school, so I chose courses and clinics with that goal in mind.  I remember being completely overwhelmed and humbled when, as a clinic student doing intake at a local housing project, I met person after person who had incredible needs that the legal system seemed wholly unable to address.

What advice do you have for our students who are interested in public service?

You have an incredibly rewarding career to look forward to.  Identify what motivates you and where your passions are.  Be prepared to hustle and work hard to meet people, learn the law, and put yourself out there.  Ask questions, make a plan, and don't give up. And come see me, and all of our other public service faculty, for more support and advice!