Juvenile law leaders share career advice

Students interested in juvenile law learned about careers in this area during a recent Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL) event. Practitioners Betsy Clarke, of the Juvenile Justice Initiative, Peter Newman, of the Cook County Court, and Elizabeth Vastine, of Stone Vastine Group, discussed their work and the range of opportunities available in juvenile law.

Clarke (JD '77) is founder and president of the Juvenile Justice Initiative (JJI), which partners with John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Models for Change in Illinois. She explained how JJI works to address jurisdictional right-sizing and reform, reduce detention and incarceration of youth, eliminate racial disparities, develop community-based resources and enhance fairness.

Newman talked about his work as program administrator for the Juvenile Justice & Child Protection Resource Section of the Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago. He assists and supports presiding Judge Sophia Hall in creating initiatives to bring the court into coordination with the community and to better serve children and families within the Juvenile Court's jurisdiction.

Vastine, principal at the Stone Vastine Group, develops curriculum, trains and consults in conflict resolution, mediation and restorative practices in a variety of settings including, group homes, academic institutions, law enforcement agencies and the juvenile justice system. She and Newman also teach Restorative Justice and Juvenile Justice courses at DePaul.

In addition to coursework, Clarke, Newman and Vastine all recommended that students volunteer on a regular basis and pursue internships to explore the area of juvenile law.