The Consumer Debt Practicum is a 2-credit experiential course that will teach trial practice skills and substantive consumer law to JD students through participation in the Consumer Debt Practicum hosted by Greater Boston Legal Services at the Boston Municipal Court – Roxbury Division, Small Claims Session.  In addition to a weekly class meetings, students attend Small Claims Court 4-6 times per semester to represent low-income consumers facing suit by debt collection firms.


The Consumer Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services staffs the Consumer Debt Practicum in Small Claims Court at the Boston Municipal Court (BMC) Roxbury Division, East Boston Division, Charlestown Division and Chelsea District Court. The practicum provides pro bono representation to low-income defendants in small claims court on credit card collection matters. Students will participate at the BMC Roxbury Division on Wednesday afternoons from 1 – 4 pm (or earlier if cases resolve before 4 pm).

Students will represent low-income debtors in negotiations and small claims magistrate trials under the supervision of the clinic instructor. The students’ involvement in each case begins and ends during the court session under a limited assistance representation (LAR) model. Students will develop the practical skills of client interviewing and counseling, negotiation, and oral advocacy. Students will learn about the debt collection industry, common defenses to consumer debt collection suits, and how to litigate Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims in these cases.


In addition to the fieldwork, students will attend a weekly classroom seminar or discussion. The seminar will cover substantive law, allow opportunity for case reviews, and engage students in mock trial simulations. The topics will include the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure; trial practice; consumer law such as common law contracts, Truth in Lending Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and Massachusetts Consumer Cost Credit Act; client counseling; and negotiation.

Faculty & Additional Information

Questions regarding the Practicum can be directed to Clinical Associate Professor Jade Brown.