Professor Chaney’s section: This course will explore the practical, conceptual and procedural mechanics of civil rights practice through mock litigation of one or more simulated case studies. Students will engage the stages of litigation, including claim and defense development, preparing and answering pleadings, crafting written discovery, conducting effective depositions, and presenting oral argument, while exploring the nuanced issues that arise in civil rights practice, including client management, dealing with client and personal trauma and triggers, establishing noneconomic harm, and collaborative practice.
Professor Steinberg’s section: This course examines how civil rights lawyers use federal civil rights litigation to address contemporary social problems. Students will develop and litigate a simulated case based on an actual racial profiling controversy in Ann Arbor. They will gain experience in client interviewing, public records requests, complaint drafting, responding to motions to dismiss, oral argument, depositions and negotiations. Students will learn how to overcome the many procedural obstacles to justice posed by 42 U.S.C. section 1983 and explore the ethical issues faced by public interest lawyers when representing clients in civil rights cases. The course will also emphasize how litigation can be most effective in achieving social change when it is a part of an “integrated advocacy” campaign that includes public education, legislation and/or community action.