Civil Litigation and Practice Clinic   


Learn about Seton Hall Law Clinics

 

Center for Social Justice (CSJ)
[email protected] | 973-642-8700 or 973-761-9000 ext. 8700
833 McCarter Highway, Newark, NJ 07102

 

Weekday Section

Number Name Credit Type Offering

CLIN7180

Civil Litigation Clinic

The Civil Litigation Clinic handles a variety of civil cases on behalf of its clients, with a primary focus on civil rights, housing, and education cases. During the semester, students may handle all aspects of a civil case, from conducting an initial interview to trying a case or arguing a motion. Students draft complaints, answers and counterclaims; propound and respond to interrogatories and document requests; conduct and defend depositions; draft motions and memoranda of law; conduct settlement negotiations; and appear in court. The seminar is designed to ensure that students develop a common base of litigation skills through simulated exercises and will also introduce students to relevant substantive law. In addition to the seminar, students participate in weekly team meetings for the cases for which they are responsible. The clinic requires an average of fifteen hours per week in addition to the two-hour seminar. Litigation demands will vary on a weekly basis, and students must have the flexibility to commit more extended hours to meet court deadlines. Clinics are open to all students who have completed 2/3 of the credits required for graduation.

The course is letter-graded for both the clinical and class components.



Prerequisites: Minimum Cumulative 2.60 GPA, Evidence, Professional Responsibility and Persuasion and Advocacy.

Note: Students cannot participate in an externship in the same semester in which they are enrolled in a clinic.

4

Clinic

in-class

CLIN7181

Civil Litigation Clinic

The Civil Litigation Clinic handles a variety of civil cases on behalf of its clients, with a primary focus on civil rights, housing, and education cases. During the semester, students may handle all aspects of a civil case, from conducting an initial interview to trying a case or arguing a motion. Students draft complaints, answers and counterclaims; propound and respond to interrogatories and document requests; conduct and defend depositions; draft motions and memoranda of law; conduct settlement negotiations; and appear in court. The seminar is designed to ensure that students develop a common base of litigation skills through simulated exercises and will also introduce students to relevant substantive law. In addition to the seminar, students participate in weekly team meetings for the cases for which they are responsible. The clinic requires an average of fifteen hours per week in addition to the two-hour seminar. Litigation demands will vary on a weekly basis, and students must have the flexibility to commit more extended hours to meet court deadlines. Clinics are open to all students who have completed 2/3 of the credits required for graduation.

The course is letter-graded for both the clinical and class components.



Prerequisites: Minimum Cumulative 2.60 GPA, Evidence, Professional Responsibility and Persuasion and Advocacy.

Note: Students cannot participate in an externship in the same semester in which they are enrolled in a clinic.

1

Clinic

in-class

 

Weekend Section

The weekend section will be offered starting in Fall 2022. It is a 3-credit clinic with a 1-credit seminar and a 2-credit clinical component.

Professors: Kevin B. Kelly and Abdul Rehman Khan

Offered: Fall and spring semesters.

Credits: 5 (weekday section), 3 (weekend section)

Introduction

The Civil Litigation and Practice Clinic handles a variety of civil cases on behalf of its clients, with a primary focus on landlord-tenant cases and housing-related consumer matters as part of the Housing Justice Project. During the course of a semester, students may handle various aspects of civil cases, from conducting an initial interview to arguing a motion or conducting a hearing. Students draft complaints, answers and counterclaims; propound and respond to interrogatories and document requests; conduct and defend depositions; draft motions and memoranda of law; conduct settlement negotiations; appear in court; and or represent clients in full hearings. The Clinic also undertakes community education and advocacy with the Housing Justice Project.

The weekday section of the Civil Litigation and Practice Clinic has two complementary portions: a two-hour, 1-credit, weekly seminar focusing on procedural, evidentiary and ethical rules, as well as skills training; and a 4-credit clinical component in which students work for 195 hours on real cases for real clients. The weekend section of the clinic includes a 1-credit seminar and a 2-credit clinical component for which students must complete 100 hours of work on their cases.

The Seminar

The seminar focuses on substantive housing law and the rules governing the process of litigation. There is a particular emphasis on developing case theory, the strategic implications of procedural rules and their interaction with rules of evidence, substantive rules of law, and the Code of Professional Responsibility. Another component of the seminar is devoted to instruction in actual pretrial skills, and a substantial portion of the seminar grade is based on preparation for and performance during simulations. In addition to the seminar, students participate in weekly team meetings concerning the cases for which they are responsible. The overall goal of both the seminar and clinical portion of the course is to improve writing, communication, negotiation and analytical skills that are critical to effective lawyering; to appreciate the importance of fact development and presentation; to become consistently self-conscious and self-critical about strategic decisions taken throughout the course of the litigation; and to contribute to a sense of responsibility about the capacity of the law and legal institutions to do justice.

The weekend section of the Civil Litigation and Practice Clinic also is part of the Housing Justice Project and will include a range of legal work to address the housing crisis in New Jersey, including (1) application of legal design theory to develop plain-language online tools for tenants; (2) representation of tenants in impact and appellate cases; (3) representation of tenants in trial-based tenancy cases; and (4) advocacy and legal advice for tenants and tenant-based organizations through concepts of movement lawyering. Students will have the opportunity to appear in court on tenancy cases but will not be required to do so if their schedule does not permit weekday court appearances.