MSU Law legal clinics provide real cases with real results

A pair of MSU Law students enrolled in the Civil Rights Law Clinic recently secured a $20,000 settlement for an indigent client in a federal court case.

Anna Stephens and David Loudon appeared in federal court in early June to represent a prisoner who had been denied kosher-vegan meals for 699 days. After the parties presented their cases, Stephens and Loudon requested a directed verdict on whether their client’s constitutional rights had been violated. The judge granted the directed verdict and recommended the Michigan Department of Corrections attorney seek a settlement for her client.

“It was definitely a surreal and amazing experience to see the constitutional rights of our indigent client vindicated after hundreds of hours of work over the past year,” Stephens said.

“The handling of this trial by both David and Anna was excellent,” said Professor Daniel E. Manville, Civil Rights Clinic director. “The College of Law can be very proud of the education it provides its students. The academic foundation every faculty member provided to these students allowed them to easily step into the role of trial attorneys.”

Working under the direction of faculty, MSU Law clinic students put their legal skills to use and learn to work directly with clients, representing them in negotiations, administrative hearings, and the courtroom. In addition to resolving civil rights issues, MSU Law students resolve child custody issues, prevent evictions, obtain disability benefits, resolve taxation issues, and help immigrants remain legally in the United States and secure citizenship.

The Civil Rights Clinic is one of 10 legal clinics offered to MSU Law students. Along with clinics, students have extensive experiential learning opportunities through externships at more than 200 locations across the country and abroad.