Melanie DeRousse serves as both a clinical associate professor and director of KU Law’s Douglas County Legal Aid Clinic. The clinic’s educational focus is to engage law students in real-world, client-centered practice where, under the guidance of supervising attorneys, they can develop their lawyering skills, substantive area expertise, and ability to engage in the critical self-reflection that will be essential to their development as ethical, diligent members of the profession. DeRousse’s responsibilities as director are to refine, develop and promote the clinic’s educational focus, to seek out funding and relationships that will assist in the clinic’s mission, and to teach student-attorneys the art of competent, client-centered lawyering with an emphasis on access to justice.
DeRousse’s scholarly interests focus on the intersection of state and family, particularly in the context of poverty, public health and child welfare. She draws upon her experience in practice as well as her work before law school implementing a diversion and rehabilitation program for pre-adjudicated juvenile status offenders in Florida and South Carolina. She is a graduate of the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, where she competed on the national trial advocacy team and participated in a top-ranked civil justice clinic. Before joining the KU Law faculty, DeRousse was an attorney at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri Inc., where she focused her civil practice on the legal needs of survivors of intimate partner violence. DeRousse was a frequent presenter and panelist at Missouri Bar CLE programs and community education events. She also clerked for the Hon. Kathianne Knaup Crane at the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District. She joined the KU Law faculty in 2015.
- Family Law
- Legal Aid Clinic