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Michigan State University College of Law. Rental Housing Clinic. Who We Are. The Rental Housing Clinic is a public interest law clinic. It is a cooperative effort of Michigan State University, MSU College of Law, the City of East Lansing, and Ingham County.

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who we are
Who We Are
  • The Rental Housing Clinic is a public interest law clinic.
  • It is a cooperative effort of Michigan State University, MSU College of Law, the City of East Lansing, and Ingham County.
  • Under MCR 8.120, second- and third-year law students are able to practice law and provide representation under the supervision of licensed attorneys.
what we do
What We Do
  • The Rental Housing Clinic provides free legal assistance to low-income rental housing clients in the Greater Lansing, Tri-County area (Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties).
  • The Rental Housing Clinic also offers educational assistance to tenants and landlords throughout the State of Michigan.
why take a clinical course
Why Take a Clinical Course?
  • To gain “hands-on” experience—clinical residents obtain practical experience by working one-on-one with actual clients under the supervision of licensed attorneys.
  • To sharpen essential skills—such as factual investigation, research, communication, negotiation, organization, etc.
  • To develop a commitment to the profession— by striving to promote equal access to the justice system.

Little Tidbit:Students are allowed to practice law under Michigan’s Student Practice Rule, MCR 8.120. Students practicing pursuant to MCR 8.120 are bound by the same rules as attorneys, such as Michigan’s Rules of Professional Conduct, the civil practice rules, and the Rules of Evidence.

clinical grading
Course Credit: Three credits are awarded for successfully completing the clinical program.

Grades:A = Excellent, B = Good, C = Satisfactory, D = Inadequate (but passing), F = Failing. (Plus and minus grades fall in between).

Evaluation: In addition to classroom preparation and assignments, students are evaluated on their progress in further developing the fundamental lawyering skills essential for competent representation and their commitment to the values of the profession.

Clinical Grading
clinical evaluation
Clinical Evaluation
  • Fundamental lawyering skillsinclude the following: problem solving; legal analysis and reasoning; legal research; factual investigation; communication; counseling; negotiation; litigation and alternative dispute resolution procedures; organization and management of legal work; and recognizing and resolving ethical dilemmas.
  • Values of the professioninclude the following: providing competent representation; striving to promote justice, fairness, and morality; striving to improve the profession; and professional self-development.
time commitment
Time Commitment
  • Classroom

Ten 1 hour 15 minute lecture sessions

Two weekend days (Sat and Sun) for Boot Camp

Mandatory Case Round Sessions, discussing and reviewing client calls and files in a group setting.

  • Practice

168 hours, on site, for:

-New client intakes, handling calls and walk-ins

-Research/case file management, working on +assigned client files

Course Description
  • The Rental Housing Clinic I course covers the basics of landlord-tenant law, including the creation and termination of tenancies, the rights and duties of the parties, leases, violations of leases, termination of leases, security deposits, evictions, lock-outs, maintenance, and discrimination.
  • Students will be assigned actual clients with rental housing problems and will, with supervision, act as legal counsel for these clients.
  • Representation may include dispute resolution, mediation, case evaluation, or litigation, depending on the particulars of each individual case.
Course Description


  • The Rental Housing Clinic II course will provide an opportunity to continue the live-client representation.
  • The course will allow for more sophisticated lawyering.
  • It will also allow for mentoring of students in Rental Housing Clinic I.
  • Enrollment in this course is by invitation only.
contact information
Contact Information
  • Elan Stavros Nichols, Staff Attorney/ Professor

[email protected]

  • Amy Graham, Public Interest Fellow/ Staff Attorney and Professor

[email protected]

541 E. Grand River Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823

Phone: 517.336.8088 - Fax: 517.336.8089