Civil Litigation Clinic
What we do
The NC Central University Civil Litigation Clinic affords students the unique opportunity to develop their skills in the craft of lawyering in the field of civil litigation, while providing assistance to low income and vulnerable members of our community, furthering our commitment to “Equal Justice Under the Law.”
Clinic cases include a wide range of legal problems in areas such as landlord – tenant, police misconduct, prison conditions, government unemployment benefits, housing discrimination. The Civil Litigation Clinic has a focus on civil rights litigation, having represented victims of police misconduct, racial profiling, excessive force, and unlawful searches and seizures in state and federal Court. The Clinic has also successfully represented prisoners suing in federal court against unconstitutionally unsafe prison conditions. The Civil Litigation Clinic also represents people in eviction cases and helps residents assert claims for unhealthy and uninhabitable living conditions as well as housing discrimination.
Currently, the Civil Litigation Clinic is divided into two semesters. In the Fall semester, students receive intensive training in areas of civil litigation using practical simulations, case examples, and actual cases within the clinic
In the Spring semester, students handle their own caseload primarily made up of low-income clients referred by the Durham Legal Aid Program and other community partners. Students are certified pursuant to North Carolina’s Third Year Practice Rule and, under the close supervision of Professor Scott Holmes, the supervising attorney, students learn to translate their knowledge of legal theory to tangible legal assistance for clients. As a result, students learn skills not offered in other parts of the law school curriculum—applying sound legal judgment, using common sense, and expressing compassion and commitment to solve legal problems facing people and the communities in which they live. In the process, students gain a more holistic and practical knowledge of areas of the law in practice including civil procedure, contracts, evidence, constitutional law, civil rights litigation, and other substantive areas of law.
To be admitted into the Civil Litigation Clinic, students should have completed or should be contemporaneously enrolled in Trial Practice. Students with questions about the Civil Litigation clinic should contact Professor Holmes.
Potential Clients and Community Partners
Potential cases come to the NCCU Civil Litigation Clinic from community partners working with poor and indigent members of our community who cannot afford an attorney. To qualify for representation, potential clients must meet income requirements established for Legal Aid of North Carolina and provide information establishing indigence. The NCCU does not take cases directly and considers referrals from our community partners who have included Legal Aid of North Carolina, North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and the North Carolina Conference of the NAACP.
Contact: Professor Scott Holmes