Alumnus and Miami Scholar Student Work Side-by-Side to Advance Children's Rights

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Mitchell Feld, JD '08

When Mitchell Feld, JD ’08, began his internship at the Council for Children’s Rights after his 2L year at Miami Law, he had no idea that he would be directing the program eight years later. Jordan Gray, a current 1L, is about to embark down the same path, working this summer as an intern under the supervision of Feld.

The Council for Children’s Rights is a non-profit located in Charlotte, North Carolina that provides comprehensive advocacy and legal services for children on issues such as education, abuse and neglect, mental health, and juvenile justice. With a strong commitment to child advocacy, Gray is about to start an intensive hands-on internship where she will gain valuable experience in the field of juvenile justice, learning from passionate attorneys committed to fighting to protect the rights of children.

Currently, Feld, a former Miami Scholar, supervises a team of five attorneys, social workers, and a paralegal to provide representation to children ages six to 15 charged with committing delinquent acts in Mecklenburg County, N.C.  Feld’s team also represents civilly committed youth up until age 18. Feld finds the work to be incredibly rewarding as he is able to help vulnerable children achieve their goals. He is inspired by his colleagues who demonstrate true dedication and commitment on a daily basis.

Jordan Gray, 1L

Gray will be working directly under Feld’s supervision this summer. As she will have just completed her 1L year, she will not yet be able to argue in court, though, that will not prevent her from delving into case work where she will assist with client interviews, case preparation, research for legal arguments and assist in securing services for children. To familiarize Gray and all other interns with the work of the office, she will participate in an intensive two-day orientation and will have the opportunity to attend weekly trainings for all interns and staff to gain exposure to other issue areas including special education, custody, and policy advocacy.

 “I am really excited to be interning at the Council for Children's Rights, specifically working with their Children's Defense Team to assist attorneys with legal research and case preparation,” said Gray. “I wanted to take this summer to learn more about juvenile advocacy in criminal law specifically, and that is exactly what I found through the Children's Defense Team. I am eager to learn the process their team has created to ensure that the best interest of the child is the first priority in every case involving a minor who is going through the legal system.”

Feld’s path to the Council for Children’s Rights first began when he developed an interest in litigation in college sparked by a constitutional law professor who was also a judicial biographer. When deciding where he wanted to study law, Feld searched for a school with a strong practical skills program. Although he applied to 21 law schools in total, he was drawn to Miami Law’s Litigation Skills program for its emphasis on experiential learning. After visiting Miami Law’s campus and learning more about the extensive practical skills programming, Feld knew that Miami Law was the right fit for him.

Once on campus, Feld was eager to get involved with the Litigation Skills Program. His high expectations for the program were exceeded.

“Being able to actually try a case in a real courtroom and learn from some of the best judges and attorneys in the country on courtroom advocacy, interviewing skills and how to handle a case was truly a phenomenal experience,” said Feld. He was also an active member of Bar and Gavel and president of the Honor Council.

Feld spent the summer after his 1L year interning for Judge Beth Bloom in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. He found this internship to be a remarkable opportunity that provided insight in to the judicial decision making process. He knew he wanted a more hands-on experience for his internship during the summer after his 2L year. Feld had a passion for working with children - and as his mother is a teacher and his father is a pediatrician - working with children seemed natural to him. As a result, he interned with the Council for Children’s Rights, where he realized that he could combine his two passions – litigation and working with children – and make an impact.

For any student, such as Gray, who hopes to enter the field of child advocacy after graduation, Feld recommends gaining as much exposure as possible to working with youth either in or outside of the legal arena.