12/10/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/10/2023 15:11
Billy '80 and Barbara Richardson have given Campbell Law School a substantial contribution to support the addition of a sixth pro bono clinic focusing on protection of the educational rights of children with disabilities.
RALEIGH - The Richardson Family Education Equity Clinic will open its doors in January 2024, Campbell Law School Dean J. Rich Leonard has announced.
The law school's newest clinic is made possible through a generous donation from Billy '80 and Barbara Richardson, both of whom are passionate about special education and protection of children's rights.
"The Richardson family is extremely proud of the law school and its cutting-edge efforts to advocate for those in dire need of it," said Billy Richardson. "Such cutting-edge leadership is why I and our sons, Matt '09 and Zack '17, attended the law school and are so proud of its successes. Our family is committed to education and cares deeply for those who need the help of education and yet seem to find themselves lacking in resources which would enable them to flourish."
Barbara Richardson holds a master's degree in special education. She has seen firsthand how children with special needs are often left behind. And the Richardsons' daughter, Caroline, is an occupational therapist, who has worked successfully with children who have special needs.
"The family considers this a privilege to work with the law school they love and in an area of the law that means so much to the whole family," Barbara Richardson added. "The Richardson family encourages all alumni of the school to also join in supporting the school."
The clinic, which will be directed by Professor Lisa Lukasik, will offer free legal representation to low-income, at-risk children seeking to protect or restore their educational rights in cases involving special education, school discipline, and similar education-related matters.
The clinic will offer this representation in connection with an upper-level law school course through which law students authorized under the student practice rule will represent clinic clients with the instruction and supervision of the clinic director and a fellow.
Clinic students will serve as lead counsel in their work on behalf of clinic clients. They will enjoy the opportunity to counsel and advise clients, examine educational and medical records, interview witnesses, consult with experts, develop legal strategy, craft pleadings and demand letters, and appear in meetings, mediations and hearings with the support and supervision of the director and the fellow.
Students enrolling in the clinic will also complete a doctrinal seminar on special education law, also taught by Lukasik. This seminar offers an in-depth consideration of the law governing the educational rights of K-12 children with disabilities. It includes consideration of the statutory and regulatory frameworks established to protect those rights in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the ADA, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Topics covered include the identification and evaluation of students with disabilities, the scope of special-education services, discipline, the right to the least restrictive environment, placement, the concept of "appropriate" education, and other current topics in litigation impacting children with disabilities.
Clinic students attend a required weekly seminar and engage in a minimum of 100 hours of legal work on behalf of clinic clients under the supervision of Professor Lukasik and the clinic's Education Equity Fellow.
Lukasik explained, "We are deeply grateful for the Richardson family's commitment to Campbell Law and to service in support of some of the State's most vulnerable community members. We are humbled by the family's generosity, making possible this expansion of our program of clinical education and pro bono service in such a meaningful way. I am honored to enjoy the privilege of serving as the inaugural director of the clinic. We are ready to hit the ground running in January, and we aim to make the Richardson family, our Campbell Law family, our students, our clinical clients and the broader community proud."
To contact the clinic or to seek legal representation through the clinic, you may call (919) 865-4740 or email [email protected].
The Richardson Family Education Equity Clinic joins the law school's five other clinics - the Blanchard Community Law Clinic, Gailor Family Law Litigation Clinic, Business Law Clinic, Restorative Justice Clinic and Stubbs Bankruptcy Clinic - in providing pro bono legal services to the community and beyond.
Billy Richardson is the founding partner of The Richardson Firm, which serves Fayetteville, Fort Liberty and Eastern North Carolina. Richardson has been practicing law in North Carolina since his admission to the Bar in 1980. Throughout his career, he has built a reputation as a zealous, effective litigator, in and out of the courtroom. He has appeared in front of the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the North Carolina Supreme Court. He is also active politically and served the people of Cumberland County for 11 years as a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives.
ABOUT CAMPBELL LAW
Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law School has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation's top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers, among others, for having one of the nation's best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,800 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2023, Campbell Law is celebrating 45 years of graduating legal leaders and 14 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina's Capital City.
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