Jeanette Lipman Legal Clinic for Families and Children

The Jeanette Lipman Family Law Clinic is a litigation oriented holistic defense clinic focused on the representation of litigants involved in a number of Domestic Relation Proceedings that may include, but is not limited to child welfare and dependency proceedings, custody proceedings, guardian ad litem proceedings, and protective order hearings. This clinic is led by Professor Fallon Speaker.

The Family Law Clinic has the educational goal of critically examining domestic relation and child welfare law and policy in Virginia and comparatively throughout the United States, and the practical goal of offering you the opportunity to receive hands-on in depth litigation experience representing litigants in civil and family law litigation matters.

Students will provide zealous advocacy to clients in domestic relation and child welfare proceedings. To do this, students will learn how to provide holistic legal defense via a model of direct representation; how to litigate a case from beginning to end; how to draft and file motions; negotiation techniques; client interview skills, and how to collaborate with community service providers. We will be working with marginalized communities to raise awareness through know your rights campaigns and to work to decrease the number of families involved in the legal system involuntarily. This clinic will offer you the opportunity to explore collateral intersections in the law as it relates to one or more of the following areas: immigration, criminal defense, health law, housing, labor, public benefits, reproductive justice, social work and legislative policy.

Professor Speaker is a member of the New York Bar, but is not admitted to practice in Virginia. All cases that the clinic takes are done under the supervision of a Virginia lawyer.

Student Testimonials

"My favorite part of the clinic was getting to engage with parents and work with them to create a better outcome for their families."

"From learning to develop a cohesive theory to improving technical skills, this clinic has prepared me to be a better litigator."

Class Overview

  • Director: Fallon Speaker (
  • 6 graded credits
  • Time expectations: 17-20 hours/week
  • Enrollment: 8 Students
  • Days and Times:
    • Fall/Spring: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:10-4:50 p.m.
  • Grade: Letter
  • Third Year Practice Certificate: Required
  • Prerequisites (can be concurrent):
    • Required: Evidence
    • Recommended: Civil Procedure and Family Law

Expand All
  • Primary Areas of Law
    • Family Law
    • Child Welfare
    • Custody
    • Visitation
    • Orders of Protection
    • Civil Litigation & Procedure
  • Professional Skills
    • Holistic Defense
    • Interdisciplinary Practice
    • Litigation
    • Negotiation
    • Community Building & Engagement
    • Legislative Policy/Advocacy
    • Research
    • Legal Writing
    • Drafting & Filing Court Documents
  • Collateral Issues
    • Housing Law
    • Criminal Law
    • Mental Health
    • Education Law
    • Social Work
    • Public Benefits
    • Reproductive Justice