Poverty Law I

Course No. LAW 6220

University of Minnesota School of Law

Fall Semester

Adjunct Professors:

Lawrence McDonough, J.D.

Pro Bono Counsel

Dorsey and Whitney, LLP

Suite 1500

50 South Sixth Street

Minneapolis, MN 554021498

P: 612-492-6795, F: 612-677-3220



Monica Bogucki, BSW, J.D.

Attorney at Law

8095 150th Avenue NE

Kerkhoven, MN 56252

P: 507-884-6673


Course Structure and Focus:

This is a practice based class and does not primarily focus on theory. The course also involves covering separate the substantive poverty law topics of government benefits and housing. This class focuses primarily on Minnesota law. Professors reserve the right to amend or edit the syllabus or schedule at any time during the semester.

This class satisfies the Experiential Learning requirement for students under the Clinic/Simulation category.


Visit the class website at www.povertylaw.homestead.com for materials and updates. The website serves poverty law courses at the UOM Law School. This class will not use TWEN.

Office Hours:

Professors are available before or after class period and also available by appointment, and available by email.

Course Time:

Tuesday 4:05 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Mondale Hall Room 7.


There are no prerequisites for Poverty Law.

Course Goals and Objectives:

Students will learn selected topics in Poverty Law and learn how to advise low-income persons facing various legal issues. Completion of Poverty Law will assist students in clinical work, as well as work in legal aid offices and pro bono work.

Course Grade:

Students will complete two research papers with a maximum page limit of seven pages. See Class schedule for subjects and time deadlines. Each assignment will count for 45% of the grade. Students will do a volunteer experience related to poverty. A short three page paper on this volunteer experience will count for 10% of the student’s grade. Final grades may be increased or reduced 1 point based upon class attendance and participation. Poverty Law is a 3 credit course.

Incomplete Grades:

If a student is unable to complete the course requirements, please make arrangements with the instructors prior to the final day of class. The “incomplete policy” of the University of Minnesota School of Law will be followed.

Graded Assignments: Research Papers:

Two research problems will be assigned during the semester. Each student will turn in a maximum 10 pages double-spaced paper with one inch margins, and 12 point Time New Roman font, answering the research problem. Please use only materials assigned in class and in the handouts.

Students will do a volunteer experience related to poverty. A short three page paper on this volunteer experience will count for 10% of the student’s grade. Email your proposed volunteer experience to Professors Bogucki and McDonough for approval.

Late Papers:

We have a strict policy on late papers to mirror the reality of the practice of law. If you turn in a paper late without discussing it with the Dean of Students in advance, the professor can either reduce the grade or not give a grade at all.

Policy on Disabilities:

A student with a disability which affects his/her participation in the course may notify the instructors if he/she wishes to have special accommodations to the instructional format, examination format, etc. considered. The instructors may refer the student to the University’s Office of Disability Services, 612-626-1333, and the Law School’s Assistant Dean of Students Office for assistance with these accommodations.

Late Registrations:

If you are not on the class list, you must see the Registrar for admission to the class.

Attendance and Class Participation:

Attendance is required at every class. Attendance sign in sheets will be provided at every class. Students will be expected to abide by the Academic Rules. Rule 1.1 indicates that regular attendance and adequate preparation are required. Law School policy also prohibits unauthorized use of laptop computers during class, including, but not limited to, playing games, reading or writing e-mal, and internet surfing. If a student misses a number of classes, the professors reserve the right to reduce the student’s grade.


Textbooks are available in the University of Minnesota School of Law Bookstore except where noted.

$2.00 a Day, Living on Almost Nothing in America, Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaeffer, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN 978-0-544-30318-8 (215), available at bookstore.

Other reading materials are available on line at http://www.povertylaw.homestead.com/Reading.html. Reading assignments are in the class schedule, available on line at http://www.povertylaw.homestead.com/Schedule.html.


Handouts will be provided in some of the classes. If you are not going to be in class, please arrange with another student to get handouts for you. Because the instructors do not have office space on campus, it is difficult for instructors to carry handouts each week for multiple classes.

Cell Phones and Pagers

Please put cell phones and pagers on vibration or silent mode. Please do not answer phones or pagers during class. If you need to make other arrangements, talk with the professors.

Honor Code:

Students enrolled in the course are expected to at all times comply with the Law School’s Honor Code and Academic Rules, as well as the University’s Code of Student Conduct.