Poverty Law 1

University of St. Thomas School of Law

Spring 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.

Staff Attorney

Minneapolis Office, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid

(formerly Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis)

430 First Avenue North, Suite 300

Minneapolis, MN 55401

 612-746-3614 Phone and Fax



Course Structure and Focus:

This is a practice based class and does not primarily focus on theory. The course also involves covering separate substantive topics throughout the semester in alternating classes (i.e. welfare one day, housing the next) rather than in sequence, to simulate the real life practice of having to develop different substantive areas in a case at the same time. Students should decide ahead of time whether they can accommodate this teaching style. In addition, 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.


Visit the class website at www.povertylaw.homestead.com for materials and updates. The website serves poverty law courses at the UST and UOM Law Schools.

Office Hours:

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

Course Time:

Mondays 4:00 pm. to 5:20 pm., and 5:35 pm. to 6:55 pm., UST Law Building Room 235. See attached Class Schedule for more details.

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.

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 St. Thomas School of Law will be followed.

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:

Qualified students with documented disabilities who may need classroom accommodations should make an appointment with the Disability Resource office. Appointments can be made by calling 651-962-6315.You may also make an appointment in person in Murray Herrick, room 110. For further information, you can locate Disability Resources on the web at http://www.stthomas.edu/enhancementprog/.


The University of St. Thomas is committed to a healthy campus community. To help limit the spread of these illnesses, the Center for Disease Control has provided college campuses the following recommendation: students, faculty, or staff with influenza like illnesses (temperature of 100.0 or greater, plus a cough or sore throat) are directed to self-isolate (or stay home) for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine. In the event that students are unable to attend classes due to this self-isolation recommendation, they should consult the university’s pandemic web site http://www.stthomas.edu/pandemic/plan/default.html and complete an on-line form informing professors of their absence. In accordance, faculty will provide opportunities for these students to participate in alternative educational delivery due to this illness.

Late Registrations:

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


Attendance is required at every class. Attendance sign in sheets will be provided at every class. 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 St. Thomas School of Law Bookstore except where noted.

Jonathan Kozol, Fire in the Ashes, Crown Publishing Group, ISBN 978-1-4000-5246-2 or eISBN 978-0-7704-3595-0 (2012 First Edition), available at the bookstore

Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickeled and Dimed, available at the 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.

While most of the course is taught by Professors Bogucki and McDonough, there will be appearances by some guest lecturers. The professors will try to obtain their materials as soon before their classes as possible, and post them on line. Other reading materials are available on line at http://www.povertylaw.homestead.com/Reading.html when possible. As they are attorneys in practice, who are agreeing to teach in addition to their practices, there are occasions when their materials may not be available until the classes they teach. The Professors urge students to be understanding of their role.

Graded Assignments: Research Papers:

Two research problems will be assigned during the semester. Each student will turn in a (maximum 10 pages for the Professor McDonough’s paper, and 7 pages for Professor Bogucki’s paper) 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.

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.