The John Marshall Law School Receives More than $1 Million in Federal Funds to Work on Housing Discrimination Projects

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Three separate initiatives at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago are getting federal HUD dollars to help continue work that fights housing discrimination and predatory lending, and trains new attorneys and future community leaders in fair housing law.

The John Marshall Law School in Chicago is receiving more than $1 million in funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that will help maintain its Fair Housing Legal Clinic, Fair Lending/Home Preservation Law Project and its Fair Housing Internship Program to train college students in fair housing law and investigations.

The funding of the three programs is divided into a three-year grant of nearly $840,000 to underwrite the work of the Clinic; a $97,100 grant for the law school’s ongoing Fair Lending/ Home Preservation Law Project; and $99,800 that is allowing the law school to continue its groundbreaking fair housing law course and internship for college students.

“I believe these three awards are confirmation that the law school, through its Fair Housing Legal Clinic and Fair Housing Legal Support Center is doing excellent work on housing discrimination and home preservation,” said Professor Michael Seng, co-executive director of the Clinic and Center. “Our programs are unique among American law schools.”

The Fair Lending/Home Preservation Law Project is an outgrowth of work the clinic did with a Chicago neighborhood organization that realized residents were losing their homes to predatory lending. Professor Seng developed a course in predatory lending in 2003 that has trained hundreds of students. The class also offers students opportunities to work with agencies and community organizations assisting homeowners who have been victimized by predatory lenders.

“This funding will allow us to continue this important work,” said Seng. “We reach out not only to the affected homeowners, but also to lenders and attorneys working to educate them on statutes governing fair lending.”

The three-year grant for operation of the Fair Housing Legal Clinic will enable staff attorneys and attorney fellows to train law students through coursework and hands-on experiences in federal and state court litigation. Students learn how to investigate and prepare cases, and using the 711 licenses they can represent clients, under the supervision of a lawyer.

The Fair Housing Internship Program will continue into a third year using the $99,800 grant. Under the direction of the Fair Housing Legal Support Center, a select group of 12 college students are trained in fair housing law and placed in internship positions.

“The Fair Housing Internship Program is helping expand the message of fair housing beyond the legal community,” Seng explained. “It is promoting understanding and developing Chicago’s next generation of fair housing advocates.”

The John Marshall Law School in Chicago has been leading the way in fair housing law the past 20 years. The Fair Housing Legal Support Center, established in 1992, works to educate the public on fair housing law. Staff offers assistance to private and public organizations and individuals working to eliminate housing discrimination.

The law school established the Fair Housing Legal Clinic in 1993 to train law students in fair housing law and to work with those being discriminated against in their housing choices. The Clinic provides representation to persons discriminated against because of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, physical and mental disabilities, familial status, sexual orientation, source of income, military discharge status and protective order status.

To learn more about the work in fair housing law at The John Marshall Law School visit

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Marilyn Thomas
John Marshall Law School
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