Emma M. Hetherington

Assistant Clinical Professor & Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic Director
B.A., Emory University
J.D., University of Georgia

Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic

Biographical Information: 

Emma M. Hetherington is an assistant clinical professor and the director of the Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law.

The CEASE Clinic, the first of its kind in the nation, is dedicated to legal representation and advocacy for survivors of child sexual abuse in civil litigation and juvenile court dependency proceedings. Hetherington was charged with the creation of the clinic in January 2016 with funding provided by School of Law alumnus Marlan Wilbanks. The clinic has served over 50 survivors of child sexual abuse in its first year and continues to grow under Hetherington’s leadership. 

She has represented hundreds of children in juvenile court dependency proceedings who have experienced child abuse and neglect, with a specialized focus on representing children who have been sexually abused or exploited. Hetherington has served as faculty in several national and statewide conferences on child welfare, including the National Child Welfare, Juvenile and Family Law Conference and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Conference. She was also an expert for the Georgia General Assembly, commenting on proposed legislation directly affecting survivors of child sexual abuse. Hetherington provides legal consulting services to attorneys and advocates nationwide on matters involving child sexual abuse, and her research focuses on the rights of children who have been sexually abused and trauma-informed legal practice. 

Before joining the law school’s faculty, Hetherington served as the managing attorney for the Georgia Law Center for the Homeless and as a senior child advocate attorney for the DeKalb County Child Advocacy Center. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Emory University and her Juris Doctor cum laude from the School of Law. Prior to her work as a lawyer, Hetherington taught special education at the Emory Autism Center, where she provided therapeutic services as a certified applied behavioral analysis therapist for individuals with autism and their families.