FAQs for Prospective Students
What kind of cases will I work on?
Students in the Housing Clinic represent low-income families in their housing-related problems, something that is all that more important during the pandemic. Clients are often single parents, and many have disabilities. The goal is to help our clients avoid homelessness and maintain affordable and accessible housing. Clinic work often includes representing families facing eviction, difficult or unhealthy housing conditions, and terminations of housing subsidies. Students interview clients, investigate cases, research issues, negotiate with opposing parties, draft pleadings and discovery, and represent clients in administrative hearings and in court.Back to top
How many students enroll in the Housing Clinic?
The Housing Clinic is limited to six students, and we always have more applicants than spots for the clinic. We seek students who are interested in improving the lives of our clients, dedicated to learning more about housing law, and eager for eye-opening views of our justice system from the ground-level.Back to top
How has the pandemic changed the Housing Clinic?
In many ways, lawyers are facing a new era of the practice of law. Courts are holding hearings and trials remotely, advocates are facing a growing number of new rules and orders designed to deal with the pandemic, and the entire legal profession is evolving to accommodate changing practice standards. Clinic students in the spring of 2020 will be on the cutting edge of these changes and will see and experience firsthand how these changes are affecting both the legal profession and our clients.Back to top
Where is the clinic taught?
The Housing Clinic is hosted by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), one of the leading legal aid law firms in the U.S., so students get a great real-life experience working in the wonderful chaos of a public-interest law firm. Because of the pandemic, however, all classes will be taught via Zoom, and most office-hours will be held remotely. Depending on the comfort of the student and the needs of the clients and cases, there may be opportunities for in-person client meetings and in-person court and administrative hearings. TRLA has firm health protocols, so these opportunities will be discussed and evaluated during the course of the semester.Back to top
What is class like?
The classroom portion of this clinic will be taught via Zoom on Tuesdays from 4:15 - 6:13 pm. Each class will include an examination of housing law and cases, followed by a discussion of student cases. Discussion of student cases is always a compelling combination of interesting stories and application of law and strategy. Since classes will not be in-person this coming semester, the traditional offering of delicious cookies by the housing clinic professors will have to be virtual.Back to top
How much time do I need to dedicate to the clinic each week?
Reading assignments are given the week before each class and will typically take two hours to complete. Students must also dedicate at least eight hours each week for office hours to work on client cases. The office hour schedule will be set in the first two weeks of the semester. Students are expected to meet with a clinic professor at the beginning of each office session to discuss the development of their cases. As with any law practice, one week might include chaotic preparation for a hearing, followed by another week of cases in slow motion. There is no better way in law school to experience and learn about the actual practice of law than taking a clinic class.Back to top