Michelle Paxton joined the College of Law in April, 2017 to create and lead the newest clinical program, the Children’s Justice Clinic. Ms. Paxton has served as the Director of Legal Training at University of Nebraska’s Center on Children, Families and the Law (CCFL). She develops curriculum and trains child welfare workers, probation officers, and mental health professionals on all aspects of juvenile court process and procedure in Nebraska. Ms. Paxton also receives Guardian ad Litem appointments from the Lancaster County Juvenile Court. Through her work at CCFL, she came to realize that effective advocacy in juvenile court requires both an understanding of the law and appreciation of the complex dynamics of children, families, and stakeholders comprising the child welfare system. Ms. Paxton initiated the University of Nebraska College of Law and CCFL’s partnership to create a new clinical program wherein law students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively advocate for young children utilizing the training, support, and consultation from experts at CCFL.
Michelle Paxton received her J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law, where she served as Executive Editor for the Law Review. Ms. Paxton has served as a Deputy County Attorney in Douglas and Lancaster Counties, specializing in juvenile law, domestic violence, and general criminal prosecution. She has presented comprehensively on all aspects regarding juvenile court including the Indian Child Welfare Act, Termination of Parental Rights, Expert Witness Testimony in Juvenile Court, and Observing Development in Young Children.
Clinical Practice - Children's Justice 695/G (4 cr hr, 8 hr max)
The Children’s Justice Clinic will provide third-year students an opportunity to serve as a guardian ad litem (GAL) for children involved the child welfare system under the direct supervision of the clinic director. The primary goals of the course are to: 1) provide students in the Clinic with the knowledge, skills and ethical underpinnings necessary to function as effective advocates in a setting involving the legal needs of young children and 2) allow students to obtain certification as approved GALs in the Nebraska court system, thereby making them “practice ready” as GALs in Nebraska upon their graduation.