As the field of family law continues to evolve and grow, the faculty at the Georgia State University College of Law remains focused on ensuring students graduate ready to practice.
The College of Law offers a survey course on family law, focused on material that appears on the bar exam, but it also offers courses in domestic violence law, domestic law litigation and juvenile law. This range of courses is aimed at preparing students for the unique challenges that come with practicing family law.
“You’re dealing with clients during their most vulnerable time,” said professor Tanya Washington, who teaches family law. “The things they care about most are falling apart, so we want to make sure they are helping them in the best way possible.”
In addition to classroom courses, students also have the opportunity to gain practical experience through experiential learning opportunities.
The College of Law offers externships focused on family law with Atlanta Legal Aid, the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, the DeKalb Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, Fulton County Superior Court, Lawyers for Equal Justice and the Truancy and Intervention Project, Georgia. There are also a number of family law firms—where Georgia State alumni are employed– within walking distance of the college.
“I think people learn best by doing,” said professor Kinda Abdus-Saboor, who teaches juvenile law and the externship seminar class. “It’s one thing to read about a case or a rule of law, but when you have a fact pattern, and you apply it and figure out how a statute applies, it’s a different part of processing and analysis that many students can connect more to than just learning it from a case book.”
For students who are interested in pursuing careers in family law, participating in the Weltner Inn of Court is a boon for their resumes.
The Weltner Inn of Court is an organization comprised of family law practitioners and judges. Over the course of a year, Georgia State Law students are divided into teams, where they, along with eight to nine practitioners, discuss real-time developments in family law. Washington says it is an awesome networking opportunity for all involved.
“You get to know the attorneys and get to know these judges,” said Washington, who also serves as the liaison between the Inn and Georgia State. “We have had several of our students get employment through relationships they have made in the Inn of Court.”
Written by Alex Resnak