The requirements for the Diane Abbey Law Center for Children and Families are designed to ensure that students have opportunities to work on behalf of children and families, and to contribute to family law-related policy debate and scholarship.  In addition, they provide students with a strong foundation for achieving their professional goals.

The curriculum for Abbey Center students consists of an introductory Colloquium; 12 credits in family law-related courses; at least two externship, clinical or job placements; a Capstone project (which may be satisfied by completing a clinical program); a time commitment of at least five hours of work with the Abbey Center per semester; and attendance at two Abbey Center events during the year.

“Family law-related” broadly refers to practice areas that involve representing or providing services for children and families, including:  child welfare, education, matrimonial practice, adoption, juvenile justice, elder law, domestic violence, immigration, and mental health.

The requirements are summarized below.  Click here for a brief overview of the requirements, including a list of pre-approved family law-related courses.  For additional information in Question and Answer format, click here.

Abbey Center Colloquium, and Family Law-Related Courses

All associates of the Abbey Center are required to enroll in the 2 credit Colloquium course in the spring semester of their second year of studies (or third year for evening students).

In addition to the Colloquium, students must take 12 credits in family law-related courses.  A complete list of the courses pre-approved for the 2013-14 school year appears in the overview document.  

Family Law-Related Placements

All associates are required to complete at least two placements relating to children’s and family issues. Students can complete the requirement through a job, an externship, a clinic, or a volunteer opportunity. Placements must be by the Director or Associate Director.

Abbey Center Capstone Project

The Abbey Center Capstone Project is a required, graded course.  Students may complete an independent study project and present the project in their final year. The project requires students to work with an outside organization to address a real world problem related to family law. Students may also fulfill the Capstone requirement via enrollment in a family law-related clinical program at NYLS.  All Capstone Projects must be approved by the Abbey Center Director or Associate Director.

Abbey Center Blog

Abbey Associates may write posts for the Abbey Center Blog,, subject to approval by the editors for the blog.

Abbey Center Events and Other Projects

Throughout the year the Abbey Center hosts a variety of events.  Students may help to organize events and perform work during and after the event.  Students may also work on other projects relating to the Center’s mission.

Time Commitment to the Abbey Center

Associates are expected to make a commitment of at least 5 hours per semester during their time at the Diane Abbey Center for Children and Families. This commitment is typically fulfilled through working on Abbey Center events and/or writing for the blog.