Spotlight on the Family Justice Clinic
Faces of Hope partners with the University of Idaho College of Law to provide free legal assistance to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, child abuse, elder abuse, and stalking. Known as the Family Justice Clinic, this program allows legal students to develop their skills and gain real-world experience while providing these critical services.
The Clinic assists victims with civil protection orders and other civil court matters, including divorce, custody, evictions, and name changes. These third-year law students who have been granted a limited license to practice from the Idaho Supreme Court assist with all aspects of the client’s civil case, from the initial application, interviews, and drafting of pleadings to the negotiation with opposing counsel and trial.
Melissa Allen is a current law student at the University of Idaho College of Law Boise and has been assisting Faces of Hope clients with divorce cases and civil protection orders since August of 2021. Allen’s most impactful experience has been helping a mother reunite with her kids after not seeing them for years as her husband had withheld them from her. The client is incredibly grateful for everything the legal team at Faces of Hope has done; it has allowed her to start a new chapter of her life.
Since working with Faces of Hope, Allen states, “Faces gives me hope that a career in law can make a difference in my community beyond what I ever thought it could. Sometimes I think we lose sight of the personal impact when we are focusing on landmark cases in front of the Supreme Court when really every day we can make a difference to someone.” After law school, Allen plans to get into a similar area of work that she is doing at Faces of Hope.
Similarly, Malory Morgan has been working with the Family Justice Clinic since September 2021. As a legal intern, Morgan has assisted clients with civil protection orders, guardianship, parental termination and contempt of court, and custody cases. Working with Faces of Hope clients has allowed her to learn more about representing clients while teaching her that patience is essential to working in the legal system.
Reflecting on what experience has been most impactful, Morgan shares “one of the cases that I assisted on involved a woman whose former partner was affiliated with gangs and had an actual plan to end her life. She was a scared mother reliant on an abusive man when I met her. She became a woman with a well-paying job, a safe, self-supporting living situation, learned who her real “people” were, and finally learned the abuse was not her fault. This was really satisfying. I was proud of the small part I played in helping her get there.”
The Family Justice Clinic is a vital resource for Faces of Hope clients to utilize and a place to start for the University of Idaho Law Students to begin their legal careers.