Children and Youth Law Clinic Team Wins CLEA Outstanding Clinical Award

Children and Youth Law Clinic Team Wins CLEA Outstanding Clinical Award

Alexis Hammond, 2L, and Cosimo Gaudio, 2L
By Miami Law Staff Report

Alexis Hammond, 2L, and Cosimo Gaudio, 2L

Children and Youth Law Clinic Team Wins CLEA Outstanding Clinical Award

By Miami Law Staff Report
Miami Law Clinics instructors have conferred the 2022 CLEA Outstanding Clinical Team Award on Alexis Hammond and Cosimo Gaudio for their work in the Children and Youth Law Clinic.

From the moment Alexis and Cosimo were paired in the Children and Youth Law Clinic it was apparent they would be a powerhouse team. As counselors, they were empathetic and supportive of their young clients. As advocates, they were fiercely determined in the face of constant opposition from the state, and they successfully framed their client's unique needs as worthy of recognition under the law. They interviewed witnesses, drafted motions, stood up to complex adults in meetings and negotiations, and gracefully guided their clients through the court process. 

"Participating in the Children and Youth Law Clinic was by far one of the most fulfilling experiences of my law school career," said Hammond. "I am both honored and thankful to be recognized alongside my partner Cosimo Gaudio for our work in the clinic this year."

"Serving as a student-intern in the Children and Youth Law Clinic has been the most valuable experience of law school so far. I would like to thank everybody involved, but especially my clinic partner Alexis and my supervisor Robert for all their support and guidance," said Gaudio.

According to the clinicians, the pair’s genuine care enriched their advocacy about how the law affects people's lives. They went above and beyond by engaging in policy advocacy to improve how the state screened children with emotional disorders and marked them for involuntary commitment. They drafted and filed extensive public records requests to obtain information on the contractor who oversees the evaluations. They researched and began early drafts of motions to exclude the contractor expert's opinions. They successfully negotiated against a recommendation for a child to be committed to a facility, ensuring that the child remained in his foster home and school. The team never lost sight of clients' individual needs and the system's collective injustices, the clinicians wrote. 

According to Hammond, "Through each of my clients, we were exposed first-hand to the racial, social, economic, and systemic issues within foster care. Through this experience, we were able to advocate for children who wanted nothing more than to be heard, seen, valued, and respected." 

"We ask a lot of students in our clinic, and Alexis and Cosimo pushed themselves even further. I am very proud to have worked with them and know they will do great things." said Robert Latham, associate director at Children and Youth Law Clinic.

Learn more about Miami Law’s clinical training.