The Civil Clinic handles a wide variety of civil cases. The final decision regarding which cases and how many cases will be accepted by the Clinic rests with the faculty supervisors. The focus is on smaller cases that can be completed during the course of a semester and that allow students to act as lead counsel.
Examples of types of cases handled in the past include the following:
- Consumer Protection (Fair Debt Collection Practices, Fair Credit Reporting, contracts, and so forth)
- Divorce, Child Support Modification, Child Custody -limited scope only-
- Post-Conviction and Criminal History Assistance (Criminal Set-Asides and Pardons, Record Sealing)
- Landlord/Tenant, including public housing cases
- Name changes
- Basic Estate Planning (Powers of Attorney, Guardianships, Conservatorships, Simple Wills, Transfer on Death Deeds)
- General Civil Matters (i.e., negligence, property damage, etc.)
The Clinic does not handle the following types of cases:
- Advice to individuals who are not Clinic clients
- Criminal matters (including traffic offenses or tickets)
- "Fee generating" cases (those in which private counsel may be likely to take case on a contingency basis)
- Workers Compensation
- Cases in which the faculty members have no expertise
Cost of Services
Unless it is waived by one of the faculty members, all Clinic clients pay a one-time administrative fee of $25. There is no charge for attorneys' fees. Clients may be responsible for filing fees or other costs of litigation if they are not eligible for a fee waiver from the court.
For most of the cases it accepts, the Clinic does not have strict financial eligibility guidelines. However, the Clinic primarily accepts clients whose income fall below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines and whose assets are of minimal value, which are the financial guidelines followed by Legal Aid of Nebraska.
Even if applicants are financially eligible, the Clinic may not take a case if it does not fit a present educational need of the students. Faculty supervisors have final say over whether the Clinic will accept any particular case.
Primarily Lancaster County; however, the Clinic will consider accepting clients who live outside Lancaster County on a case-by-case basis.
How to Apply for Services
Call the Clinic number (402-472-3271). You will hear a voice message directing you through a menu of options. One of the options will inform you whether the Clinic is taking new cases and, if so, the types of cases being taken. The menu will also let you know how you can apply for the Clinic’s services. Generally, applications can be taken over the telephone during the Clinic’s regular business hours, which are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If your case is accepted, it will be assigned to a team of students who will contact you to schedule an initial interview.