A joint project of law schools in the District of Columbia, Rising for Justice (RFJ) allows students to develop practical and fundamental lawyering skills while providing legal representation, assistance, and counseling to low-income clients in the District of Columbia. Students from Georgetown University Law Center participate in the RFJ clinic with students from other D.C. law schools. RFJ has two clinical programs, a civil clinic focused primarily on housing law and a criminal clinic representing adults charged with misdemeanors. Georgetown University Law Center participates in the civil clinic.

The Civil Division:

Students in the Civil Division of RFJ, otherwise known as the Housing Advocacy and Litigation Clinic, represent clients in D.C. Superior Court, primarily in the Landlord and Tenant and Branch. Law students prevent evictions, preserve affordable housing, and secure tenants’ rights under federal and District law. The program works to fight the consequences of poverty, to prevent homelessness, and to combat the affordable housing crisis in the District of Columbia while teaching law students to become effective advocates.

The program offers a learning environment that focuses on case preparation, courtroom experience and one-on-one working relationships with experienced instructors. Supervision and instruction emphasize litigation strategy, the skills necessary for effective lawyering, and client-centered representation.

Under the supervision of clinical instructors, students are responsible for all aspects of litigation: interviewing clients and witnesses, conducting investigations, preparing pleadings, engaging in settlement negotiations, and conducting all motions hearings and trials pursuant to the Superior Court’s student practice rule. Students enrolled in RFJ represent clients at hearings their casework at D.C. Superior Court’s Landlord & Tenant Branch and Civil Actions Branch, located a short walk from Judiciary Square or Gallery Place Metro.

There is a mandatory week-long orientation for the Fall 2020 semester from August 17-20 and for the Spring 2021 semester January 9-10 and 23-24. After orientation, weekly clinic classes and simulations are held on Monday evenings. Clinic classes during the semester are held at the RFJ office, located a short walk from the Law Center at 901 4th St NW, Washington, DC 20001. Clinic simulations during the semester are held at the Moultrie Courthouse, 500 Indiana Ave NW, Washington DC 20001.

If you have any questions, please contact Paul Di Blasi, Director of Clinical Education for the Civil Division, at pdiblasi@dclawstudents.org.