Economic and Consumer Justice Clinic
This yearlong clinic course includes two semesters of clinical supervision representing clients with consumer problems, with weekly course meetings in the fall. Students in this course gain experience working with clients who have problems that are covered by various consumer protection laws, mainly those governing debt collection and other debt-related issues. In conjunction with the Legal Aid Justice Center, the clinic will explore what some call “Poverty Inc.” — an industry that targets vulnerable and low-income populations — through hands-on experience with clients, litigation and research. Students learn basic information about various consumer protection statutes while practicing skills related to the entire range of client representation, such as interviewing clients, investigating complaints, conducting discovery and drafting court pleadings. Students gather factual information and conduct legal research to analyze their client’s legal rights, represent consumers in negotiations, and participate in court and administrative proceedings to the extent permitted by law.
Prior clinics have included two class-action lawsuits and several cases in federal court. Students may have the opportunity to work on policy issues affecting consumers, and impact litigation. They also learn about the role of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, a federal agency set up to help protect consumers. Finally, students will be given the chance to identify ways that the rules affecting consumers should be changed and to work on making such changes happen. Students will engage in casework throughout the year.