The Honorable Martha Mills, supervising judge of the Parentage and Child Support Court, in collaboration with attorneys and long-time restorative practitioners, Peter Newman and Elizabeth Vastine, approached the center to assist in cutting edge training for law students. In a skills based class, students learn to facilitate restorative circles in child custody and child support cases. The goal is to help families ‘stuck’ in the process learn how to communicate so that they can resolve their issues without court intervention. Through simulations and hands-on practice, the students experience facilitating (“keeping”) a circle to help prepare them to co-facilitate circle processes for families referred by the Cook County Parentage and Child Support Court in the future. Other applications of the circle process in areas such as juvenile work and divorce are in the planning stages.
Students have rated this innovative course as their favorite class in law school.
- "This course has been enlightening. As law students, we become so caught up in the traditional approaches to resolving legal disputes that we tend to lose sight of creativity and progressive thinking."
- "I feel that I have learned things in this class that no textbook or casebook would have been able to teach me. The skills I have learned or improved are valuable in any area of the law and in my life."
As a pioneering court alternative program, the restorative pilot program has been the focus of workshops presented by attorneys Peter Newman and Elizabeth Vastine at the following conferences:
- International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP) in Hull, England, October 2010
- Association of Conflict Resolution (ACR) in San Diego, October 2011
- Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) in Chicago, June 2012
- Association of Conflict Resolution (ACR) in New Orleans, September 2012
Summer Service Awards
Our selective Summer Service Award Program has attracted some of the country's best students, who were drawn to DePaul by the prestige and quality of the program. The students chosen for these awards have LSAT scores as high as 168 and median GPAs of 3.5.
Family Law Certificate
Students wishing to focus on family law have the opportunity to complete the Family Law Certificate Program. The certificate program is an intensive 15-credit specialization that combines traditional course work and practical experience in order to prepare students for a career in this rapidly expanding field. Certificate candidates must take five family law courses, including one survey course, two courses with significant papers, one practice-based course and one elective. To qualify for the certificate, students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average in their family law certificate courses. The certificate assures prospective employers that our students are well-versed in family law, making DePaul graduates very attractive in the job market.
Field Placement Program
DePaul law students have the opportunity to obtain course credit and practical experience while working in a variety of public interest family law jobs. Last year, Center students worked for the Public Guardian's Office and for the presiding judge of the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.
Family Law Fellows
The Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center's prestigious Fellows Program provides students with opportunities to participate in the substantive work of the Center. Additionally, students have the opportunity to apply for paid public service job placements, a number of which are available. Fellows can participate in a variety of the Center's many activities including:
- Hot Topics in Family Law: Monthly Speaker's Series
- Substantive Research
- Newsletter Editing
- Networking with Attorneys and Judges
- Field Trips
- Social Events
- Public Service in Family Law
- The Opportunity to Apply for a Paid Public Service Job Placement