Advanced Bankruptcy Clinic (3 credits)
Leif Rubinstein, Associate Professor of Law
The Advanced Bankruptcy Clinic will represent debtors in Chapter 13 Proceedings, in which debtors arrange a multi-year payment plan to pay outstanding debts and avoid liquidation. Students in this clinic also represent defendants in Adversary Proceedings in bankruptcy. These proceedings include matters in which a trustee attempts to recover assets transferred by a debtor and similar matters involving contested issues. Students will appear in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court under attorney supervision on behalf of their clients. To participate in the Advanced Bankruptcy Clinic students must have successfully completed the Mortgage Foreclosure & Bankruptcy Clinic.
Bankruptcy Clinic (5 credits)
Leif Rubinstein, Associate Professor of Law
The Bankruptcy Clinic provides advice and represents clients who are in financial distress. Students will gather information from and on behalf of the client and then prepare a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition. Students will also participate in U.S. Bankruptcy Court at Section 341 hearings as well as prepare, file and argue numerous bankruptcy motions. (Professional Responsibility suggested.)
Civil Rights Litigation Clinic I, II (5, 3 credits)
William M. Brooks, Professor of Law
The Civil Rights Litigation Clinic offers hands-on experience litigating civil rights claims in both state and federal courts. Since 1989, this clinic has been a leading force in the movement to provide protection and advocacy for those who have been diagnosed as mentally ill. The clinic represents current and former residents of psychiatric facilities, enforcing significant constitutional and statutory rights in areas such as forced treatment, abuse and neglect, unlawful confinement, civil commitment, and discharge planning. Many of the clinic's cases are on the cutting edge of the law, setting new standards for patients' rights and requiring the broader application of civil rights laws.
Students are introduced to the complexities of civil rights law and litigation by protecting and advancing the rights of people with mental or physical disabilities. Learning from faculty with nationally recognized expertise in mental health law gives students solid training in litigation strategies and techniques, as well as the creative dimension of expanding the law.
A minimum of ten hours of clinical work is required each week, in addition to a weekly seminar that concentrates on developing the skills needed in civil rights litigation. Through simulations and mock exercises, the seminar prepares students for the tasks they will undertake on behalf of clients.
Disaster Relief Clinic;(5, 3 credits)
Benjamin Rajotte, Visiting Professor of Law
The Disaster Relief Clinic will provide up to 12 students per semester an opportunity to learn basic lawyering skills essential to the practice of law while assisting clients who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Under faculty supervision students will represent clients in real estate and land use matters, public benefits including FEMA claims, public utilities issues, insurance matters, employment issues, contractor and consumer issues as well as issues that have a broad impact on disaster recovery problems affecting a larger number of clients or public policies for disaster recovery or assistance. The course will consist of 2 components: the 2-credit Disaster Law and Policy course which can be taken as a pre or co-requisite and a 3-credit Disaster Relief Clinic which includes a 2-hour weekly seminar. Students will work 10-12 hours in the clinic on client matters.
The Clinic will provide free legal help related to disaster relief centered on:
• Employment issues
• Housing/real estate - including condemnation issues
• Landlord/tenant issues
• FEMA (benefits and emergency aid)
• Property damage and rebuilding
• Land-use and environmental issues
• Insurance issues
• Consumer fraud
• Medical/hospital discharge issues
• Issues specifically related to the frail elderly and other seniors
• Domestic violence
• Issues related to emergency financial assistance and temporary housing
• Housing repair and contractor issues
• Small business related issues
Elder Law Clinic (5 credits)
Marianne Artusio, Associate Professor of Law
The Elder Law Clinic introduces students to the unique challenges of practicing law on behalf of the elderly, while also providing training in basic law practice skills. As the elderly population has increased, the field of elder law has become a growing specialty, demanding more sophisticated expertise to effectively advise and assist clients.
Under the supervision of experienced faculty, students spend 12 to 15 hours per week advising and representing senior clients in a wide range of legal matters in courts, administrative agencies, and negotiation settings. Through their work, students experience law practice in the larger context of social, supportive, and advocacy services for the elderly. Students also develop an appreciation for the role of lawyers and legal institutions in protecting rights and enhancing the quality of life of the aging population.
While the focus is on serving elderly clients, students gain practical legal training in interviewing, counseling, negotiation, drafting, and advocacy, while providing legal advice and representation in areas such as health care, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, wills, consumer issues, elder abuse, and age discrimination.
The clinic also includes a weekly seminar, which features an interdisciplinary approach through insights from the fields of sociology, gerontology, psychology, and health facilities administration. The seminar is also the setting for practicing essential professional skills, using simulated problems or problems drawn from current cases to prepare for activities in actual cases.
Family Law Clinic (5 credits)
Lewis Silverman, Professor of Clinical Law
The Family Law Clinic offers students the opportunity to learn family law practice from a variety of perspectives, including litigation, negotiation, and court proceedings. Working 12 to 15 hours a week under the supervision of experienced faculty and practitioners, students represent clients in divorce litigation, child support enforcement, and family offense proceedings.
Although the focus is on family law issues, the clinic also provides training in skills applicable to the practice of law generally. Through an intensive training program supplemented by a weekly seminar, students learn to interview clients; investigate and develop relevant facts; negotiate on behalf of clients; draft litigation documents; and handle in-court proceedings, including divorce, child support, and domestic violence cases.
To prepare for their responsibilities, students participate in an intensive training program covering the dynamics of family violence, the social and psychological dimensions of domestic abuse, the system of shelters and social services available to victims, and the police and criminal court procedures involved in the response to domestic violence. Students also learn special skills needed to interview and counsel clients who have endured these traumas.
Because protecting victims of family violence is a major focus of the clinic's mission, students spend one day each week in Family Court, where they interview and represent clients seeking court protection. Whether they secure a negotiated agreement or a court order after a trial, students experience the satisfaction of knowing that by obtaining an order of protection, excluding the batterer from the home or confiscating a weapon, their efforts have gained the client a measure of safety.
Mortgage Foreclosure Clinic (5 credits)
Students represent clients whose homes are either in mortgage foreclosure proceedings or are about to go into foreclosure. Representation includes assisting clients to renegotiate the mortgage terms to save their homes, representation in mandatory court conferences and in preparing and presenting any defenses available in the foreclosure case. (Professional Responsibility suggested.)
Small Business and Not-for-Profit Corporation Law Clinic (2 credits)
William Bird, III, Adjunct Professor of Law
The Not-for-Profit Corporation Law Clinic is dedicated to assisting community groups and non-profit organizations. These entities provide a large and important array of services in any community: charitable, civic, health care, education, children's programs, senior citizens' services, advocacy for disadvantaged groups, recreational and entertainment projects and much more. Whether long-established or recently formed to address an emerging problem, both the organizations and their staff and board members need sound legal advice to function properly, fulfill legal requirements, and carry out their purposes.
This clinic enables students to engage in the practice of basic corporate and non-profit law while helping community groups accomplish important goals. Under the supervision of experienced faculty, students advise groups on appropriate forms of organization to accomplish their goals. They also provide ongoing legal services in matters such as creation of corporate structure and by-laws; application for tax-exempt status; compliance with federal, state, and local laws; government filings; fundraising; advice on board and volunteer liability; restrictions on lobbying and other actions of the organization.
Clinic students work an average of eight hours each week on client matters, typically in the evenings; they also participate in a weekly seminar covering the laws and procedures that apply to non-profit groups and corporations. (Evening division students receive enrollment preference.)
Veterans' and Servicemembers' Rights Clinic (5 credits)
Kenneth A. Rosenblum, Associate Dean for Administration and Visiting Professor of Law
This Clinic assists veterans and active duty service members in matters in which military service has created special protections or created unique burdens. Clinic students work closely with the Suffolk County Veterans Court, a specialized part of the Suffolk County court system that helps veterans charged with criminal offenses by diverting them from the traditional criminal justice system and providing them with the tools they need to live productive lives, through treatment and judicial monitoring. Students may also represent veterans in benefits claims, regaining employment after deployment, employment discrimination claims, obtaining accommodation for disabilities and discharge review and upgrade proceedings.
Advocating for veterans and servicemembers enables students to handle a wide range of legal matters and to serve those who have served our nation.