The Civil Rights Litigation Initiative provides students with the unique opportunity to work on important civil rights cases in a clinical setting. Taught by the former long-time legal director of the ACLU of Michigan, the goal of the course is to prepare students to use the law to advance social justice.
While the types of cases will vary from semester to semester, students will have the opportunity to work on litigation addressing one or more of the following issues: fair housing, student rights, racial justice, police misconduct, immigrant rights, free speech, women’s rights, LGBT rights, ethnic and religious discrimination, voting rights, disability rights and the right to privacy. Students will work on civil rights cases on behalf of individuals as well as larger impact cases.
Students, under faculty supervision, will gain experience in many of the following areas: working with impacted communities to identify injustices; researching and developing winning legal theories; interviewing potential clients; writing public record requests and demand letters; drafting complaints; researching and writing briefs; arguing motions; taking depositions and engaging in other discovery; negotiating settlements; trying cases; drafting appellate briefs; and arguing appeals. It is anticipated that students will work primarily in federal court and will learn how to avoid the many procedural minefields that civil rights litigants face when seeking injunctive relief or recovering damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
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