Housing Rights Advocacy Clinic

Housing Rights Advocacy Clinic

Housing as: a safe place to gather; a place to nourish ourselves and our families; a place for healing and rest; shelter from intense weather; a human right; home.

The focus of the Housing Rights Advocacy Clinic is to assist and advocate on behalf of tenants experiencing housing insecurity in underrepresented Boston neighborhoods and surrounds. In their role as student attorneys, students learn about and address a variety of housing issues, including eviction defense, landlord obligations under the state sanitary code, security deposit disputes and lease violations.

Students enrolled in the clinic have opportunities to:

  • Provide direct representation to clients who otherwise could not secure counsel
  • Hone core lawyering skills, such as interviewing and counseling, research and persuasive writing, negotiation and oral advocacy
  • Learn case development and management skills
  • Examine and understand ethical obligations in client representation and advocacy
  • Practice and develop competence in Massachusetts housing law

There may also be opportunities to participate in community outreach and education to share information on housing rights, in collaboration with local courts and organizations working to achieve housing equity and justice.

In the related weekly seminar, through assigned readings, discussions and exercises, students build on lawyering skills development, examine issues of professionalism and ethics that arise in client representation, and explore and think critically about the systems that foster housing inequities. The seminar also provides a setting where students participate in case rounds: in-depth discussions with classroom peers for advice and support in case development, strategy, decision making and interpersonal case dynamics.

Enrolled students are the lead lawyers in their matters, working under the guidance and close supervision of clinical faculty. Each student will be certified to practice law as a student attorney under Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:03, which authorizes students to appear in court on behalf of their clients, virtually or in person. To be certified under Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:03, students are required to have taken Evidence or Trial Practice, or to be taking either of the two concurrently with the clinic.

Clinic Director