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Starting a Children's Law Program

The Children's Rights Litigation Committee has the unique ability to help individuals or local groups who are interested in starting or improving children's legal programs. The Committee is able to assist in the following ways:


Members of the Children's Rights Litigation Committee "Working Group" include directors of nationally acclaimed children's law projects. They are available to help new projects with living examples of how to get things done. Some have founded their own projects and have unique insight into start-up problems. These experts can also discuss funding options, review funding proposals for new projects, provide organizational materials that serve as a blueprint for establishing the program and assist in the design of plans to meet the needs of children in a specific community. All of them have extensive hands-on experience to share with new programs.

Organizational Support

The Children's Rights Litigation Committee publishes the only national directory of children's law projects [PDF]. The directory lists projects, law school clinics, resource centers, where to get "How To" manuals and provides information about how other programs are operated which can act as blueprints for new projects.

Recruiting Materials

The Children's Rights Litigation Committee video, Make A Difference In A Child's Life, tells the compelling story of three pro bono attorneys and the children they represented. It is a forceful recruiting tool and is suitable for showing to both large and small groups. Articles detailing the enormous effect that pro bono attorneys make in a child's life are also available.

America's Children Still At Risk is a powerful book-length update of America's Children at Risk and focuses on the crisis that continues to face America's children. The book was published in 2001 and should be read by anyone concerned with the future of the next generation.

The Committee can assist projects in producing pro bono trainings by providing sample materials from other projects. Additionally, Committee staff is available to discuss potential speakers for trainings.

Volunteer Referrals

The Children's Rights Litigation Committee recruits pro bono attorneys nationwide through programs at ABA conferences and other forums. Speakers at these programs have included former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders and nationally known children's law experts. Attorneys recruited through these programs can be referred to local projects.


The ABA Section of Litigation publishes several print and electronic publications that reach more than 60,000 lawyers nationwide. Other ABA publications target young lawyers, women, minorities, ABA leaders, and lawyers in specific practice areas. Articles, training announcements, and similar items may be included in these publications.

Direct Mail

Direct mail appeals to ABA members in specific zip codes areas are practical and effective for recruiting lawyers for local pro bono opportunities or trainings. The Committee has samples of appeals that have been particularly successful.

Copyright © 2017, American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association, the Section of Litigation, this committee, or the employer(s) of the author(s).

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