Welcome to the Legal Services Center!
We invite you to learn more about our clinics through the videos and information below. For more information on our work, our history, recent news and more, visit the links to the right (or below, if viewing on a mobile device).
Dan Nagin, Director of the Legal Services Center and the Veterans Legal Clinic, provides an introduction to LSC’s work and clinics.
Students in the Family/DV Clinic work under close supervision to manage all aspects of a family law case, from the initial client intake to representing clients in both Family and District Courts in Massachusetts, such as drafting pleadings and other case-related and court documents; requesting, gathering, and analyzing discovery; case-management and organization; negotiating with opposing parties and counsel, and working with complex financial issues. Students will conduct intake and provide legal advice and consultation on-site at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and other community health centers. In addition to learning and using valuable legal and litigation skills, students will also have the opportunity to prepare and present workshops and trainings on relevant legal issues to community groups and service providers.
In the video below, Marianna Yang and Rebecca Greening, clinical instructors in the Family and Domestic Violence Law Clinic, discuss the clinic’s work, an example case, and the role students can play in the clinic.
Through the Federal Tax Clinic, students represent low-income taxpayers in controversies with the IRS, both before the IRS and in federal court. Students work individually and in teams to represent taxpayers involving examinations, administrative appeals, collection matters and cases before the United States Tax Court and Federal District Courts. Students represent taxpayers with the goal of maximizing financial well-being and protecting taxpayer rights, including securing refunds and credits to which taxpayers are entitled, providing relief from joint and several liability for innocent spouses, and reducing tax liabilities through successful negotiated resolutions or compromises of liabilities based upon taxpayer financial hardship. Because the clinic teaches lawyering skills applicable across numerous practice areas, students are encouraged to enroll whether they have an existing interest in tax law and practice or simply seek an immersive law practice experience through which they can learn valuable skills and provide pro bono representation to those in need.
Clinic students should concurrently enroll in the Federal Tax Clinical Seminar. In the Seminar students learn the substantive law, procedural context, advocacy skills, and ethical rules necessary for the effective representation of low-income taxpayers before the IRS and in federal court. The seminar covers an array of topics, including tax practice and procedure at the agency level and in federal court, administrative law, client interviewing, fact investigation, offers in compromise, negotiation, refund litigation, audit reconsideration, innocent spouse defenses, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and evidentiary hearings. The seminar also considers, through the lens of students’ clinical experiences, systemic questions about tax policy, anti-poverty policy, and access to justice for low-income taxpayers.
In the LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic (LAC), students work on cutting-edge issues involving LGBTQ+ rights, with a particular emphasis on issues affecting underrepresented communities within the LGBTQ+ community. Clinic offerings include local and national projects covering the spectrum of LGBTQ+ issues. Students will have the opportunity to engage in a range of work encompassing various strategies for advancing LGBTQ+ rights, including impact litigation and amicus work, policy and legislative advocacy, and direct legal services for LGBTQ+ clients.
Most students work on projects and case work under the direct supervision of Clinic Director Alexander Chen, while some student work off-campus with non-profit organizations.
Visit the LGBTQ+ Clinic’s website for more information.
Students in the Housing Law Clinic engage actively in client interviewing and counseling, fact investigation, pre-trial discovery (including the taking and defending of depositions), negotiation, and motion practice, as well as trying cases in court. Students also have the opportunity to engage in community lawyering and mobilization efforts with long term community partners and to work on legislative and other law reform initiatives. Students can also participate in the Boston Bar Association’s Attorney for the Day Program and offer “game day” advice to unrepresented litigants in Court on the day of the litigants hearing or trial.
Housing Justice for Survivors Project
Within the Housing Law Clinic, the Housing Justice for Survivors Project helps survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and sexual harassment who need to move to safe housing or who are trying to keep their homes. We represent clients facing eviction, loss of housing subsidies, those in need of safety transfers, and people who need to terminate their tenancies for safety reasons. Below, Project Director Julia Devanthéry talks about the Project and the kinds of cases and work students can take on.
Through the Consumer Protection and Predatory Lending Clinic, students represent low-income people in cases related to predatory lending and other consumer matters, including bankruptcy and debt collection defense. The practice is primarily litigation and involves consumer, bankruptcy, banking, student loan, real estate, contract, and tort law.
In the video below, Roger Bertling, Director of the Consumer Protection and Predatory Lending Clinic, shares information about the clinic’s work and common types of cases and issues they work on.
Students who work with the Project on Predatory Student Lending help low-income student loan borrowers who have experienced predatory lending in connection with for-profit schools. Students gain experience interviewing clients, analyzing loan documents, drafting legal demands, building a factual record, preparing and presenting arguments, and engaging in long-term case strategizing. In addition to direct representation of borrowers in court proceedings, arbitration, and administrative actions, some students also have the opportunity to engage in other forms of advocacy, including organizational representation, public education, and state and federal testimony on issues important to our clients. For more information about the Project on Predatory Student Lending, which recently celebrated its five-year anniversary, visit the Project’s website.
In the video below, the Project’s director, Toby Merrill, outlines the Project’s work and the kind of cases they take on.
The Veterans Legal Clinic—its official title in the curriculum is the Veterans Law and Disability Benefits Clinic–is made up of three collaborative projects: the Veterans Justice Project; the Estate Planning Project; and the Safety Net Project. Through these three projects, students represent veterans and their family members in a variety of case types. In all our case work, we strive to help veterans and their families attain the maximum degree of stability, dignity, and financial well being. We use creative legal strategies not just to vindicate the rights of individual veterans, but to pursue systemic reforms within the institutions and programs that are designed to support the veteran community.
In the video below, Veterans Legal Clinic Faculty Director Dan Nagin provides an overview of the Veterans Justice Project and outlines an example case.
The Estate Planning Project, part of the Veterans Legal Clinic, represents veterans and their dependents (e.g. spouses, dependent children) when they cannot afford an attorney. The Project strives to help veterans and their families attain the maximum degree of independence, stability and financial well-being.
Through the Project, student handle various case types, all with the purpose of helping veterans exercise the maximum control over family, health, and financial decision making. Among other things, students may represent clients on matters involving wills, powers of attorney, health care proxies, living wills/medical directives, special needs trusts, guardianships, conservatorships, VA fiduciaries, and qualifying for VA pensions and MassHealth.
Clinic students will have numerous lawyering opportunities, including client interviewing, legal research & writing, client counseling, and drafting and executing legal instruments.
In the video below, Estate Planning Project Director Destini Agüero shares more about the Project’s work and the kinds of cases it focuses on.
The Safety Net Project, part of the Veterans Legal Clinic, helps local injured and/or disabled people, including veterans, in appeals involving disability-related benefits such as Social Security Disability Insurance, SSI, SNAP, and other public and private assistance programs.
In ensuring access to safety net programs for clients, students have numerous lawyering opportunities, including client and witness interviewing, legal research and writing, client counseling, negotiation, motion practice, evidentiary hearings involving opening statements, witness examination, and closing arguments, and appellate oral argument.
In the video below, Julie McCormack, director of the Safety Net Project, describes the work of the Project and the kinds of cases it takes on.