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Montana Legal Services Association Clinic

Variable Credit(s)
Fall: LAW 600 05 | Spring: LAW 601 05

Academic Year/Summer

Montana Legal Services Association
Supervising Attorneys: 
Diana Garrett,  Ed Higgins, Beth Hayes, Julie Sirrs (LITC)

Faculty Supervisors:
Professor Eduardo Capulong
406.243.6707
eduardo.capulong@umontana.edu

Professor Elaine Gagliardi (LITC)
406.243.5094
elaine.gagliardi@umontana.edu

Prerequisite:

  • Professional Responsibility (effective for all classes entering Fall 2011 and thereafter)
  • Federal Income Tax (for Low Income Taxpayer Clinic only)

Areas of law: Family Law; Housing Law; Consumer Law; Professional Responsibility; Public Benefits; Taxation Law, Business Law, Negotiations

Lawyering skills:
Research and writing; civil litigation; negotiations, interviewing and counseling

Sample Projects:
Conduct client interviews; research; draft pleadings; prepare for and attend settlement conferences and court hearings, negotiate with the IRS, research innocent spouse relief.

Montana Legal Services Association provides access to justice for low-income clients in civil cases.  Student s assigned to this clinic will have an opportunity to represent domestic violence survivors in a variety of civil legal matters involving family and landlord tenant law.  MLSA has a holistic approach to its clients, and will attempt to meet all of their legal needs, which may include additional areas of practice such as public benefits, consumer law, and others.  Interns may also represent and advise low- income people in other areas of Montana through the use of video conferencing technology and other methods.

Montana Legal Services Association also offers interns the opportunity to work with the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, where they will advise and represent low income taxpayers in Montana in controversies with the IRS.  Students in this clinic will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge of tax law and procedure.  Students will gain experience in client counseling, negotiations and potentially litigation as well.

Interns are fully integrated members of the practice. Cases will be assigned to the intern and each intern will be expected to handle a variety of cases as if she/he were an associate. .  Interns work under a supervising attorney but are given significant responsibility for their cases.  Interns can expect to appear before District Court judges, Standing Masters, and Administrative Law judges. In addition to an opportunity to use litigation skills in a contested hearing, interns will gain practical general practice skills such as client interviewing techniques, negotiation skills, document drafting, and legal research.

MLSA clients have nowhere else to turn for legal assistance, and are highly appreciative of the work done on their behalf by student interns. Students will leave their clinical experience knowing that they have made a real difference in someone's life.