The Youth Justice Clinic (YJC), formerly the Juvenile Justice Clinic, is a fouror six-credit course through which students provide direct representation to children, youth, and emerging adults (up to age 25) in a variety of proceedings in area courts.  It also includes the opportunity to advocate for systemic change.  The course has two components that are interrelated.  One is a direct representation of youth and emerging adults. This includes developing skills for client counseling, ethics, investigation, pre-trial practice, negotiation, document drafting, trial experience, and appeals. The other is student-driven and focused on making systemic change through policy work.  Students learn how to work with impacted communities to reform system practice, shape legislative advocacy and influence the court’s rulemaking process.  YJC provides students the opportunity to explore practice and policy in the areas of criminal law, juvenile law, education law, and poverty law.  Students will work with the close supervision and mentoring of faculty supervisors and Jill Ward, Director, Center for Youth Policy & Law. In addition to client work, students enrolled in their first semester at Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic will participate in a two-credit class: Lawyering Skills for Clinical Practice.  All clinic students take part in “case rounds” where the students and faculty exchange ideas and questions about current cases and policy goals.

Center for Youth Policy &Law

In June 2017, the Center for Youth Policy & Law (CYP&L) was established with a grant from the John T. Gorman Foundation to support Clinic students and faculty in their policy work around justice-involved children, youth and emerging adults .

Learn more about CYP&L.

In the Media


Christopher Northrop, Jill Ward, Jonathan Ruterbories & Jess Mizzi, What’s My Age Again?: Adolescent Development and the Case for Expanding Original Juvenile Court Jurisdiction and Investing in Alternatives for Emerging Adults Involved in Maine’s Justice System, 74 ME. L. Rev. 2 (2022).

Chris Northrop & Kristina R. Rozan, Kids Will be Kids: Time for a “Reasonable Child” Standard for the Proof of Objective Mens Rea Elements, 69 ME. L. REV. 109 (2017).


Additional Materials

August 2021 – In July, the first session of the 130th Legislature adjourned after having taken action on several youth justice bills and related reform. Read the summary.