About the Clinic
The Neighborhood Law Clinic (NLC) provides a broad range of legal services including rental housing and employment law. Clinical law students staff the community-based office at the UW South Madison Partnership space in the Villager Mall on Madison's South Side. Students handle individual cases and engage in community-led education and advocacy when appropriate.
Students engage in traditional litigation practice, using skills such as fact investigation, legal research, analysis, drafting, negotiation, counseling, and trial work. Students also learn to participate in and consider less traditional lawyering activities, such as public speaking, drafting education materials, and participating in local campaigns for social and economic justice.
Information for Students
What do NLC Students do?
NLC students maintain regular weekly office hours at the Park Street office located at the Villager Mall (frequent bus service and ample parking make this easy). Examples of cases and projects include:
- Rental Housing
- Representing a lessor who is being illegally evicted, whose security deposit has been unlawfully retained, or who has had other housing rights violated;
- Educating the community and community advocates about various aspects of rental housing law.
- Workers' Rights
- Assisting a worker with filing a complaint of discrimination;
- Representing a worker seeking unpaid wages.
In addition to weekly office hours on Park Street, NLC students participate in a weekly seminar. The seminar includes materials on:
- The substantive topics students will encounter in their client work.
- Simulations and exercises in the various lawyering skills used.
- Theories of community lawyering, and the role of lawyers in various movements for social and economic justice.
Students also conduct structured "case rounds," in which they brief each other about their client work and brainstorm new approaches to client issues and projects.
If you are interested in further information about the NLC, please contact NLC Director Mitch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information for the Public
What is NLC?
The Neighborhood Law Clinc (NLC) provides free legal information and in some cases, free legal representation to residents of Dane County, and surrounding counties in limited circumstances. NLC can help with legal problems involving rental housing and employment law. NLC is part of the University of Wisconsin Law School's Economic Justice Institute. NLC clients receive legal services from law students, who are supervised by attorneys.
How does NLC work?
- A person seeking help calls NLC to schedule an intake appointment at NLC's Villager Mall office (online meetings can also be scheduled).
- That person brings all relevant documents to their appointment. For example:
- Their lease if they have a housing issue
- Eviction notices if they're being evicted
- Timesheets or pay stubs if they weren't paid properly for their labor
- NLC students ask the person to explain the situation for which they're seeking help. The students listen carefully, take notes, and ask questions to get a better understanding of the issue.
- At the end of the intake interview the NLC students research the law, and provide information and referrals. In limited circumstances NLC might offer representation.
- If NLC is able to offer representation, students will be assigned to the case and represent the client, often this involves negotiation and litigation. Students will stay in contact with their client to keep them updated and to discuss options when decisions need to be made.
How much does NLC help cost?
The NLC does not charge for their legal services. However, clients are generally expected to pay any court costs such as filing and service fees unless the court approves a fee waiver.
NLC May be able to help you if:
- Your employer hasn't paid you for hours that you worked
- Your employer owes you overtime pay or didn't pay you the minimum wage
- Your property manager or lessor is trying to evict you
- Your property manager or lessor illegally kept your security deposit
- Your apartment has maintenance or repair issues that have not been resolved
- Your Section 8 voucher is being terminated
- You have been discriminated against in employment or housing
Issues NLC Cannot Help With:
- Family Law (divorce, child support, custody, etc.)
- Criminal Law
- Worker's Compensation
- Traffic Tickets
- Personal Injury, such as auto accidents
If you have a problem in one of these categories, NLC will try to refer you to other organizations that may be able to provide help.
NLC Expects Our Clients To:
- Cooperate with NLC and assist in resolving their legal issue
- Keep NLC informed about changes in their address, telephone number or other contact information
- Return NLC phone calls as soon as possible
- Tell NLC if you resolve your legal issue on your own
- Provide NLC with any and all documentation related to your legal issue
UW South Madison Partnership Space at the Villager Mall
2238 South Park Street
Madison, WI 53713
General Phone: 608-890-0678
Hours change every semester, currently:
Fall 2023 hours run from Sept 18th through Dec. 7th.
Tuesdays 4:30-7:30pm, Thursdays 1-4pm, and Fridays 1-4pm.
Appointments are preferred; walk-ins are welcome. Please call to schedule a remote or in-person meeting
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