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Frequently Asked Questions - Clients

If I am a minor, do I need an adult to seek the clinic's assistance?

No. All young people are encouraged and welcome to come to or call the clinic any time. You may come by yourself or with a friend or family member if you would like.

Are my communications with the clinic confidential?

All communications with the clinic concerning legal representation are confidential and protected by the attorney-client privilege, even if the clinic is not able to take your case.

Can I bring a friend with me to my interview?

Yes, anyone may accompany you to your interview. However, we will want to speak with you privately at your first or at a later interview.

How does the clinic decide if it will represent me?

This decision is based on whether the clinic can provide the type of representation you need and the availability of other resources in the community. The clinic only serves clients who are unable to pay for a private attorney.

How are the students trained to handle "real" cases?

Students study the law and legal procedures in the clinic class and in their other law courses. Students also learn practical skills through observation and role-play activities that are part of the clinic.

Will I have a real lawyer handling my case?

The lawyer who handles your case is Dale Cecka, clinic director and professor of law. The law students are interns who work under the supervision Professor Cecka. Professor Cecka is a licensed Virginia attorney who has also practiced in New York.

How do I obtain representation?

You may contact the Family Law Clinic at 804-289-8921 or by email at to see if you are eligible for the waiting list.

Will I have to pay?

No, all of the clinic's services are free of charge.

Can I bring my children?

If child care is an issue, please call prior to your appointment, and we will find a way to accommodate you. We can provide short-term supervision of your children for an initial interview. However, day care service is not available at the clinic, so we will have to discuss other arrangements if you schedule a more extensive follow-up meeting.

How often should I expect the clinic to be in contact with me?

You will be updated whenever something significant occurs in your case, and if we need your input before our next scheduled meeting. In addition, you may call to inquire about your case at any time. If the person you need to speak with is unavailable, your call will be returned within 24 business hours.

What information should I bring to my interview?

Please bring all documentation relevant to your case. This may include marriage records, school records, social services documentation, protective orders, or letters from public benefits providers or schools. If you think it might be important to your case, please bring it with you. Do not worry if you do not have any papers. Just bring yourself!