Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

281.41 sec. 001 - Litigating Children's Civil Rights: The Immigration Crisis (Spring 2023)

Instructor: Leecia Welch  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 1
Grading Designation: Credit Only
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


Tu 6:25 PM - 8:15 PM
Location: Law 145
From January 10, 2023
To February 21, 2023

Course Start: January 10, 2023
Course End: February 21, 2023
Class Number: 32387
This course is open to 1Ls.

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 13
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 25
As of: 08/24 11:03 PM

This one-credit course will focus on the role of class action litigation as a tool to advance the civil rights of children, with a particular emphasis on the rights of immigrant children in federal custody. The course will introduce students to the complexities of children’s class action cases designed to reform state and federal child-serving systems. Students will gain an understanding of the issues that child advocates consider in shaping class action litigation, the laws that are relied upon to achieve reforms, typical challenges that are raised during litigation, and the complex factors that must be addressed in order to improve struggling systems once cases move from active litigation to implementation of a consent decree.

By the end of the semester, students should have a:
• Basic understanding of legal claims regularly brought in children’s civil rights cases, including under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment provisions of the Medicaid Act.
• Understanding of key constitutional law cases addressing the rights of children.
• Understanding of the history and continuing relevance of the Flores case in the struggle to protect the rights of children and families in federal immigration detention.
• Understanding of the most pressing problems with federal immigration detention of children.
• Understanding of how children’s civil rights attorneys develop impact cases – including working with plaintiffs, identifying appropriate defendants, developing legal claims, and shaping the remedy.
• Basic understanding of the phases of impact litigation – pre-filing investigation, post-filing motion practice, class certification, discovery, trial, settlement, and post-judgment implementation.
• Basic understanding of the crucial need for trauma-informed mental health services to address the complex trauma needs of children in (and released from) federal immigration detention and the barriers to accessing those services.

Credit will be awarded based on (1) one 2-3 page reflection paper on the reading for week 2, (2) two designated on-call classes where you will be expected (along with other assigned students) to actively guide class discussion, and (3) one 5-7 page reflection paper due at the end of the course.

Leecia Welch is the Deputy Litigation Director at Children’s Rights in New York City. She was previously the Senior Director of Child Welfare and Legal Advocacy at the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) for seventeen years. She specializes in class action litigation designed to improve the lives of children in state and federal foster care. She is currently class counsel in the Flores v. Garland case, representing a nationwide class of detained immigrant children to enforce a settlement that governs their release and treatment in federal immigration custody. She has served as class counsel for children in foster care in Missouri and Utah – and currently represents classes of children in foster care in Washington and Kansas. Ms. Welch has also worked on successful damages cases, impact cases, and class action lawsuits on behalf of youth in Nevada and California. Prior to joining NCYL in 2004, Ms. Welch was a senior associate in the litigation department at Morrison & Foerster LLP, and spent three years focusing her time nearly exclusively on Williams v. State of California, a class action that resulted in increased funding, oversight and resources for California’s public education system. She has been recognized by the American Bar Association, the California State Bar, the Impact Fund, and was the 2021 Janet Reno Endowment Women’s Leadership Award.

Exam Notes: (None) Class requires a series of papers, assignments, or presentations throughout the semester
Course Category: Family Law
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Race and Law
Social Justice and Public Interest

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