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Henning, Mlyniec Honored by DC Lawyers for Youth

November 5, 2015 —

Professor Kristin Henning Professor Kristin Henning
Professor Wally Mlyniec Professor Wally Mlyniec

Professor Kristin N. Henning and Professor Wallace Mlyniec, who have directed Georgetown Law’s Juvenile Justice Clinic (JJC) for more than 40 years, were honored at the DC Lawyers for Youth (DCLY) Fall Ball for Youth Justice on November 4 for their commitment to training social justice lawyers.

DCLY has also created a “Henning-Mlyniec Award for Youth Justice” to be awarded annually to a deserving youth advocate, attorney or other person committed to advancing youth justice in their lives and careers. The first Henning-Mlyniec Award will be given in 2016.

“For more than 40 years, Wally Mlyniec, Kris Henning and the alumni of the Juvenile Justice Clinic have been pioneers in providing representation to juveniles. This award both recognizes Wally’s and Kris’ great contributions and honors people who, like them, have dedicated their careers to advancing youth justice,” said Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor.

“During our time in the JJC, we were encouraged to think about how our clients were impacted by policies at the systemic level and that thinking led us to start DCLY,” said R. Daniel Okonkwo (L’05), executive director of DCLY who participated in the Juvenile Justice Clinic while a Georgetown Law student. “DCLY wants to honor Professors Henning and Mlyniec for inspiring us to start DCLY and for encouraging and supporting our work in the eight years we’ve been in existence.”

Henning became the director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic in 2015, after serving as co-director since 2001. She joined the Georgetown Law faculty in 1995 as a Stuart-Stiller Fellow in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Clinics. In 1997, Henning joined the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia where she helped to organize a Juvenile Unit designed to meet the needs of children in the juvenile justice system. She served as lead attorney for the Juvenile Unit from 1998 until she returned to Georgetown in 2001. 

Henning has served as director of the Mid-Atlantic Juvenile Defender Center, president of the board of directors for the Center for Children’s Law and Policy, and on local D.C. Superior Court committees. She worked closely with the Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network to develop the Juvenile Training Immersion Program, a national training curriculum for juvenile defense attorneys. Her scholarly work focuses on race and the juvenile justice system, the roles of children’s counsel and of parents in delinquency cases, confidentiality in juvenile proceedings, victims’ rights in juvenile court, and parental consent in a Fourth Amendment context.  She earned her B.A. from Duke University, her J.D. from Yale and her LL.M. from Georgetown Law. 

Henning is the recipient of the Robert E. Shepherd, Jr. Award for Excellence in Juvenile Defense from the National Juvenile Defender Center, the Shanara Gilbert Award from the Clinical Section of the Association of American Law Schools for her commitment to justice on behalf of children, and she was recently admitted to the American Law Institute.  She also currently serves as the Reporter for the ABA’s Task Force on Standards for Dual Jurisdiction Youth and has served as an expert consultant to a number of state and federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

Mlyniec, the Lupo-Ricci Director of Clinical Studies at Georgetown Law and former associate dean of clinical programs, led the Juvenile Justice Clinic from 1973 until 2015 and now serves as its senior counsel. He is the author of numerous books and articles concerning criminal law, the law relating to children and families, and clinical teaching methods. 

A former chair of the ABA Committee on Juvenile Justice, Mlyniec has served as a consultant to the San Jose State University and University of Maryland Schools of Social Work, the ABA’s National Resource Center on Child Abuse and Neglect and more. He is the recipient of a Bicentennial Fellowship from the Swedish government to study their child welfare system, the Stuart Stiller Award for public service, the William Pincus award for contributions to clinical education, the Robert F. Drinan Award for contributions to public interest law, and the Gault Award for his work in juvenile advocacy. He received his B.S. from Northwestern University and his J.D. from Georgetown Law.

One of the first law clinics of its kind, the Georgetown Law Juvenile Justice Clinic continues to be one of the premier law school clinics in the country. The clinic represents youth charged with delinquency in D.C., and provides an experiential and classroom learning opportunity for law students and resources for juvenile defenders practicing locally and nationally. 

DCLY seeks to improve the D.C. juvenile justice system by advocating for reforms that promote positive youth development, effective legal representation, and supportive relationships between the community and D.C.’s youth. The organization was founded in 2007 by Juvenile Justice Clinic alumni from the Georgetown Law classes of 2005 and 2006.

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