Apply your lawyering skills in civil litigation cases.

The Civil Litigation Program gives students the opportunity to use their lawyering skills in a diverse array of courtrooms—from local trial and housing courts, to the state’s Supreme Judicial Court, to the federal court. In fact, several landmark decisions by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court began as student-represented cases in the Civil Litigation Program.

Students in the Civil Litigation Program choose from two options:

  • Housing, Employment, Family & Disability Clinic (HEFD)full year program
    The average HEFD clinic caseload over two semesters typically includes 4–5 cases in areas such as domestic relations, eviction defense, employment law, and Social Security appeals.
  • Employment Rights Clinics (ERC)one semester, fall or spring
    Students represent clients in unemployment compensation cases, with a possibility to work on wage and hour disputes, discrimination/sexual harassment cases, and Family Medical Leave Act cases.

Students participating in the Civil Litigation Program are eligible for the Concentration in Litigation and Dispute Resolution.

Real Practice, Real Clients, Real Cases

Massachusetts allows second- and third-year law students to practice law in its state and federal courts under the supervision of clinical faculty on behalf of indigent clients in civil cases. Our goal is to put students on cases with a high likelihood of a hearing or trial at the end.

Students learn how interview clients and witnesses, draft pleadings and other legal documents, negotiate with attorneys and conduct research, and appear in court. Everything you do will be discussed with a clinical professor. Your professor will always go to court with you and will make sure that you are adequately prepared, and will review and critique your written work and case planning. The BU clinical professors are highly experienced professionals in their fields and dedicate themselves fully to your training and supervision.

Students may expect to spend an average of fifteen hours per week on their cases in the field. Students may spend more, or less, time on clinic work depending on what is happening in the cases during any given week.

The program helps students understand the importance of providing strong representation to all who need it, regardless of economic means. To further assist students with the training process, students also participate in specialized seminars that teach negotiation, ethical decision making, case planning, and trial skills.

Housing, Employment, Family & Disability Clinic (HEFD)

The HEFD Clinic is a cluster of clinic and coursework over two semesters. Students earn six graded credits for the field component, which must be taken over both semesters. The classroom component teaches the theories of practice for use in the field. Students receive a total of 12 credits over the two semesters:

3 credits

THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the Civil Litigation Program. Student in the Civil Litigation Program handle their own case loads, representing indigent clients in civil cases under the supervision of clinical faculty. Students may participate in the Program for either a full year (the Housing, Employment, Family and Disability Clinic (HEFD)) or for one semester (the Employment Rights Clinic (ERC)). Students participating in the HEFD Clinic work on cases in areas such as domestic relations, eviction defense, employment law and Social Security appeals. Students in the ERC represent clients in unemployment compensation cases, with a possibility of working on wage and hour disputes, discrimination/sexual harassment cases, and Family Medical Leave Act cases. PRE/CO-REQUISITES: Evidence. NOTE: The Civil Litigation Program satisfies the upper-class professional skills requirement and counts towards the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.

FALL 2017: LAW JD 861 A1 , Sep 5th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne
FALL 2017: LAW JD 861 B1 , Sep 5th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 861 A1 , Jan 16th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 861 B2 , Jan 16th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne

3 credits

THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the Civil Litigation Program. Pretrial Advocacy is the companion fall classroom component for students in the Civil Litigation Program HEFD and fall ERC clinics. Pretrial Advocacy is taught in groups of roughly 14 students with two clinical professors per group. Classes are devoted to learning the theories of practice for use in the field, reinforced by activities and simulations in which students practice skills through role play. NOTE: Students who enroll in this component of the clinic may count the credits towards the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement or the Professional Responsibility requirement. It may not be used to satisfy more than one requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.

FALL 2017: LAW JD 973 A1 , Sep 5th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue 4:20 pm 7:20 pm 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne LAW 418
FALL 2017: LAW JD 973 B1 , Sep 5th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue 4:20 pm 7:20 pm 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne LAW 416

3 credits

THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the Civil Litigation Program. Trial Advocacy is the companion spring classroom component for students in the Civil Litigation Program HEFD and spring ERC clinics. Trial Advocacy is taught in groups of roughly 14 students with two clinical professors per group. Classes are devoted to learning the theories of practice for use in the field, reinforced by activities and simulations in which students practice skills through role play. NOTE: The Civil Litigation Program satisfies the upper-class professional skills requirement and counts towards the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.

SPRG 2018: LAW JD 974 A1 , Jan 16th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue 4:20 pm 6:20 pm 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 974 B1 , Jan 16th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue 4:20 pm 6:20 pm 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne

Course Prerequisites

If you have not already done so, you must take Evidence during the first semester of HEFD participation to satisfy the student practice rule.

Employment Rights Clinic (ERC)

Coursework—Fall Semester Students

Fall semester students receive a total of 6 credits for fieldwork and course work:

3 credits

THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the Civil Litigation Program. Student in the Civil Litigation Program handle their own case loads, representing indigent clients in civil cases under the supervision of clinical faculty. Students may participate in the Program for either a full year (the Housing, Employment, Family and Disability Clinic (HEFD)) or for one semester (the Employment Rights Clinic (ERC)). Students participating in the HEFD Clinic work on cases in areas such as domestic relations, eviction defense, employment law and Social Security appeals. Students in the ERC represent clients in unemployment compensation cases, with a possibility of working on wage and hour disputes, discrimination/sexual harassment cases, and Family Medical Leave Act cases. PRE/CO-REQUISITES: Evidence. NOTE: The Civil Litigation Program satisfies the upper-class professional skills requirement and counts towards the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.

FALL 2017: LAW JD 861 A1 , Sep 5th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne
FALL 2017: LAW JD 861 B1 , Sep 5th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 861 A1 , Jan 16th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 861 B2 , Jan 16th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne

3 credits

THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the Civil Litigation Program. Pretrial Advocacy is the companion fall classroom component for students in the Civil Litigation Program HEFD and fall ERC clinics. Pretrial Advocacy is taught in groups of roughly 14 students with two clinical professors per group. Classes are devoted to learning the theories of practice for use in the field, reinforced by activities and simulations in which students practice skills through role play. NOTE: Students who enroll in this component of the clinic may count the credits towards the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement or the Professional Responsibility requirement. It may not be used to satisfy more than one requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.

FALL 2017: LAW JD 973 A1 , Sep 5th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue 4:20 pm 7:20 pm 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne LAW 418
FALL 2017: LAW JD 973 B1 , Sep 5th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue 4:20 pm 7:20 pm 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne LAW 416

Coursework—Spring Semester Students

Spring semester students receive a total of 6 credits for fieldwork and course work:

3 credits

THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the Civil Litigation Program. Student in the Civil Litigation Program handle their own case loads, representing indigent clients in civil cases under the supervision of clinical faculty. Students may participate in the Program for either a full year (the Housing, Employment, Family and Disability Clinic (HEFD)) or for one semester (the Employment Rights Clinic (ERC)). Students participating in the HEFD Clinic work on cases in areas such as domestic relations, eviction defense, employment law and Social Security appeals. Students in the ERC represent clients in unemployment compensation cases, with a possibility of working on wage and hour disputes, discrimination/sexual harassment cases, and Family Medical Leave Act cases. PRE/CO-REQUISITES: Evidence. NOTE: The Civil Litigation Program satisfies the upper-class professional skills requirement and counts towards the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.

FALL 2017: LAW JD 861 A1 , Sep 5th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne
FALL 2017: LAW JD 861 B1 , Sep 5th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 861 A1 , Jan 16th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 861 B2 , Jan 16th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne

3 credits

THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the Civil Litigation Program. Trial Advocacy is the companion spring classroom component for students in the Civil Litigation Program HEFD and spring ERC clinics. Trial Advocacy is taught in groups of roughly 14 students with two clinical professors per group. Classes are devoted to learning the theories of practice for use in the field, reinforced by activities and simulations in which students practice skills through role play. NOTE: The Civil Litigation Program satisfies the upper-class professional skills requirement and counts towards the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.

SPRG 2018: LAW JD 974 A1 , Jan 16th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue 4:20 pm 6:20 pm 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 974 B1 , Jan 16th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue 4:20 pm 6:20 pm 3 Robert G. BurdickConstance A. Browne

Course Pre-/Co-requisites

Students must have already taken Evidence or students must take this class concurrently with the ERC.

Faculty

The Civil Litigation Program is taught by:

For more information about the Civil Litigation Program, please contact Professor Robert Burdick.