J.D. Program

Civil Litigation Program

As one of the oldest clinical law programs in the country, the Civil Litigation Program gives you the opportunity to use your lawyering skills in all courtroom levels — 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 may choose from three options:

  • IRC students help a transgender teen and Algerian family seeking asylum in the US
    Housing, Employment, Family and Disability Clinic (HEFD) - The average HEFD clinic caseload typically includes 4-5 cases in areas such as domestic relations, eviction defense, employment law and Social Security appeals. See more
  • Immigrants' Rights Clinic (IRC) - Students represent asylum seekers affirmatively in front of the Dept of Homeland Security and in removal proceedings before Immigration Court (Department of Justice). Students also handle Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) cases, temporary restraining orders in Probate and Family Court, and other immigration and humanitarian cases. See more
  • Employment Rights Clinic (ERC) - Students will represent clients in unemployment compensation cases, wage and hour disputes, discrimination/sexual harassment cases and Family Medical Leave Act cases. See more

Working out of the offices of Greater Boston Legal Services in downtown Boston, students engage in all phases of legal work including:

  • Interviewing clients and witnesses
  • Drafting pleadings and other legal documents
  • Negotiating with attorneys
  • Conducting research
  • Drafting legal memoranda
  • Representing clients before courts and administrative tribunals

Seven full-time clinical faculty oversee a program of more then 40 students, working closely at every stage of the process. Classroom components of the program include interviewing, counseling and negotiating in the first semester, and trial advocacy and professional responsibility in the second. Videotaped class simulations provide additional opportunities to study the advocacy process.

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

ben klein


"The Clinical Program at BU Law was the highlight of my legal education. To this day, I draw on many of the lawyering skills that I first learned in the Civil Litigation Program." - Bennett Klein ('87) Director, AIDS Law Project, Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders

In 1998, Klein argued and won the first US Supreme Court case to deal with HIV discrimination and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Bragdon v. Abbott. In a landmark decision, the Court ruled that individuals with HIV are covered under the ADA.