Workers' Rights Clinic I
Each year hundreds of workers are unfairly denied their statutory right to the unemployment benefits of the Michigan Employment Security Act. This clinic offers a unique opportunity for second semester, first year students to fight on their behalf.
Under faculty supervision, WRC I students represent recently unemployed workers in their claims for state unemployment insurance benefits. In this role, they will have significant opportunities to interview and counsel clients, conduct fact finding investigations, write and file appeals, and conduct administrative trials.
Students will quickly develop key lawyering skills in this 2-3 credit clinic. Each student team will have multiple cases throughout the term depending on case complexity and procedural status and first-chair at least one live administrative trial during the semester. These proceedings allow students to perform direct and cross examination, make objections, and deliver closing statements, all in front of an administrative law judge. Because worker claims for unemployment are typically contested by the former employer through counsel, hearings provide a relatively low-key, classic adversarial environment introduction to real-world lawyering.
Students have weekly faculty supervision sessions in which they review and plan strategy for their assigned cases. Classroom instruction consists of four two-hour sessions, held in the early evening on two weekdays during each of the first two weeks of the term. Additional class sessions may be scheduled on an as-needed basis. The classroom component includes preparation and participation in a mock administrative hearing during the 3rd or 4th week of the term.
This clinic is a pre-requisite to taking WRC's advanced clinics in your second or third year. Students earn two to three ungraded credits for their work. (Note -- this course is offered as a 2-credit add on to 1L schedules or as a 3-credit elective alternative. Both are ungraded.)
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