Published: Feb. 14, 2011

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, scheduled 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 the materials they have studied in various courses and further develop their understanding in a global context. Students have been coordinating with the National Law School in Bangalore, which has a similar curriculum. Students have been involved in all aspects of the course not only through the development of classroom materials, but also by participating in fundraising or logistics.

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. Students will visit several nongovernmental offices (similar to nonprofit service providers in the United States) including the Human Rights Law Network and the Alternative Law Forum.

In addition, students 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.

After their return, students will prepare a substantial research paper comparing an aspect of U.S. and Indian law within the four areas of focus. Additionally, students 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," said Huntington. "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."

Juvenile and Family Law is just one of the many clinical study areas of the University of Colorado Law School. Colorado Law was one of the first law schools in the nation to offer clinical education to help students more easily make the transition from legal theory to legal practice. Other clinical study areas include American Indian Law, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Practice, Criminal Defense, Entrepreneurial Law, Juvenile Law, Natural Resources, Technology Law and Policy and Wrongful Convictions.