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Tenants Advocacy Practicum

In the Tenants Advocacy Practicum, students are able to assist and advocate on behalf of tenants, including those who are facing eviction and homelessness. Students learn about and work on a variety of housing issues including, but not limited to, the warranty of habitability, lease violations, illegal lockouts, security deposit disputes, and evictions.

Participating in the Practicum

The Tenants Advocacy Practicum is a setting in which students:

  • Provide legal assistance to tenants in the community who may not find help elsewhere
  • Learn about the day-to-day practice of law, including relationships with clients, adversaries, other lawyers, agencies, and the courts
  • Understand and practice ethical obligations
  • Develop legal research and persuasive writing skills
  • Learn case management skills
  • Acquire knowledge and competence in housing law

Course Components

The course carries 3 credits: 2 credits for participation in a weekly seminar meeting, and 1 credit for 42.5 hours of casework performed between orientation and the end of the exam period.

Under faculty supervision, students in the practicum will provide direct services assistance to clients. Each student will interview clients to ascertain their legal issues and objectives, engage in appropriate legal research, draft memoranda applying the law to the operative facts, and provide approved advice or advocacy. Students may draft pleadings for cases in local courts and, on occasion, appear (virtually or in-person) in court. There may also be opportunities to circulate tenants’ rights information to the community in collaboration with local tenants’ unions.

In parallel with their casework, Tenants Advocacy Practicum students will participate in a two-hour weekly seminar meeting about New York landlord-tenant law, the causes and effects of eviction, racial equity in housing, and the civil right to counsel. Ethical issues related to the attorney-client relationship, defining the scope of representation, and conflict-prevention will also be addressed. The seminar will include case rounds, lectures, and discussions of assigned readings. There may also be an opportunity to have cross-clinic sessions and guest lectures throughout the semester.

To apply, students should submit a brief statement of interest in the online application process on the current student community website.

Clinic Faculty

William Niebel
Tenants Advocacy Supervising Attorney and Adjunct Professor of Law
(607) 254-2131
Adjunct and Associated - Clinical
Cornell Law School
132 Hughes Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901

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