About the Consumer Law Clinic
The Consumer Law Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Law School has provided legal services to lower income clients while providing law students with hands-on training since 1991. The CLC represents clients and advocates for Wisconsin consumers in a range of consumer protection issues including fraud and misrepresentation, unfair debt collection practices and abuses by payday lending and rent-to-own companies. CLC students participate in all aspects of the CLC’s work, from intake to resolution of a client’s matter and staff a weekly free drop-in legal clinic pro se litigants dealing with consumer protection issues. CLC students also advocate for consumers in administrative and legislative arenas at the state and federal levels.
Information for Students
What are students saying about the Consumer Law Clinic?
"...the Consumer Law Clinic experience has by far been my greatest teacher."
"The possibility of representing my client in the courtroom and getting justice served is something that just cannot be beat."
"Throughout my 1L year, I began to lose sight of why I wanted to become a lawyer. Clinic has reaffirmed my reasons. I work directly with clients. I also affect the 'big picture' by participating in the legislative process, increasing access to courts and raising awareness of consumer rights."
Consumer Law Clinic students:
- Help clients fight unfair debt collection, repossession, home improvement fraud, credit fraud and other unscrupulous business practices.
Develop essential legal skills such as:
- Interviewing clients and others
- Reading and applying statutes
- Working with a team
- Learn the “ins and outs” of consumer protection law.
- Become “mavens” (experts) in consumer protection topics that interest them.
Working closely with CLC Director Sarah Orr, students engage in a spectrum of lawyering skills within this dynamic area of the law. Students represent clients from intake to conclusion of the case, provide limited assistance at a free drop-in legal clinic for small claims litigants confronting consumer protection issues, and advocate for Wisconsin consumers in administrative and legislative arenas. Students study a broad syllabus of consumer law, with an emphasis on how the law affects people in our community. Students who are interested in the CLC can contact Sarah Orr at email@example.com or (608) 890-2454.
- An amicus curaie ("friend of the court") brief to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals on the importance of the right to sue for illegal repairs by a car dealership.
- Class actions on behalf of Wisconsin residents who entered into loan contracts with internet payday lending companies.
- Legislative advocacy on Wisconsin's Lemon Law, the Wisconsin Consumer Act, including its fee-shifting provision, and proposals on payday lending and rent-to-own.
Information for the Public
The Consumer Law Clinic (CLC) provides assistance and information to Wisconsin consumers with legal problems involving businesses such as debt collection, repossession, fraud and misrepresentation, unfair business practices and high-cost credit from payday and online lenders. Clients receive services from trained law students with close attorney supervision.
Individuals seeking services can call (608) 263-6283 or visit the CLC's community intake on Tuesdays, 9:00 - 11:30 AM at the Dane County Courthouse, 215 S. Hamilton Street, Jury Assembly Room in Madison. No appointment is necessary, but individuals should bring all papers related to their questions.
CLC can help with these types of problems:
- You're being sued for a debt you don't recognize;
- Your earnings are being garnished by a creditor;
- A debt collector is threatening or harassing you;
- Your car is in danger of being repossessed;
- You bought something based on misrepresentation or fraud; or
- You think a payday lender, auto-title lender or rent-to-own shop has violated your rights.
CLC cannot help you with:
- Criminal Law
- Employment Law
- Family Law
- Faulty products
- General civil cases, such as disputes between private parties
- Insurance denials
- Personal injury
- Public Benefits
- Traffic Tickets
- Unemployment compensation
- Workers' compendation