For Immediate Release:  Oct 7, 2008
2008, 10, 07

Innovative program brings together student lawyers and student social workers

Innovative program brings together student lawyers and student social workers

Media Contact
Sun Min
Director of Communications
Hofstra Law
Phone: 516.463.5013
E-mail: sun.min@hofstra.edu

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Law students and social work students will engage in a cross-disciplinary trial skills program led by faculty from Hofstra Law School and Hunter College School of Social Work.

On Saturday, October 18 at Hunter’s School of Social Work, Hofstra Law students will play the role of attorneys in a child abuse case, and Hunter students will act as expert social worker witnesses, in a full-day trial preparation workshop. The project, part of the Family Law (with Skills) Course taught by Hofstra Law School Professors Andrew I. Schepard and J. Herbie DiFonzo, is designed to teach the skills of case theory development, witness preparation and witness examination that lawyers and social workers must use in real cases.


Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are invited to film the event between 2 and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 18 at the Hunter College School of Social Work, Room 302 at 129 E. 79th Street, Manhattan, New York.

Students and professors will also be available that day for comment. To set up an interview, please contact Sun Min at 516.463.5013 or sun.min@hofstra.edu.


“This is truly innovative and very cutting-edge, “ said Tena Vitkovich, a program coordinator. “It is the first time we are bringing student lawyers and student social workers together in a skills exercise. These students are learning by doing and the experience will be invaluable.”

Theo Liebmann, Hofstra Law School Professor of Clinical Law and Attorney-In-Charge at the Hofstra Child Advocacy Clinic, designed the course with experts from around New York and the country.

“Collaboration between lawyers and social workers is absolutely indispensable to effective advocacy for children in abuse and neglect cases,” said Liebmann. “But the different roles and ethical responsibilities of lawyers and social workers pose real challenges to making that collaboration work.”

This program also highlights Hofstra Law’s emphasis on skills training. “The dearth of skills programs that train lawyers together with social workers to address these challenges is worrisome, especially to those of us who work daily with these children, youth and families in need. So, we decided to do something about it and structure an educational workshop for law students and social worker students to learn together, and provide future leaders in both professions with the tools to work together effectively,” Liebmann said.

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The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University is located 40 minutes from New York City in suburban Long Island. Hofstra Law is home to nearly 850 students, an alumni base of more than 10,600 members and a distinguished faculty of more than 50 professors, including many scholars recognized as national and international experts in their field. The law school is part of Hofstra University and is fully accredited by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association.

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