Professor Ronald W. Staudt
Public Interest Law & Policy

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Course Information


The class will meet Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00pm - 5:25pm in Room ___


My office is Room 743. My telephone number is 312-906-5326 and my e-mail address is My computer is always on while I am in the law school and I encourage you to send messages to me by electronic mail.


The readings for this course come from three sources.

  1. I will assign a combination of commentaries about public interest law topics together with a series of appellate cases deciding a variety of public interest law issues. 

  2. We will read Waiting for Gautreaux, a remarkable first person account of a landmark housing case in Chicago written by public interest lawyer Alexander Polikoff.  This text has been ordered for the class by the bookstore. It is also available on Amazon.

  3. In addition, students working in teams will study and report on a single case or topic for the class's consideration.  These Case Studies will explore the historical context of the case, describe the parties and their attorneys, follow the effects of the case on those parties, attorneys and their respective institutions, and explain the changes, if any, in society and law flowing from that case decision.  These reports and any recommended readings suggested by the students and presentation graphics (PowerPoints) prepared by the team will become part of the assigned readings for the course.  The reports and PowerPoints will be posted on the course website. The student team assignments will be posted on the Student Work page.

To provide time for fact research and interviews with public interest lawyers and others who may be able to offer personal insights for the Case Studies, class will not meet on January 31 and February 14, 2013. Your extra work doing outreach and site observation, telephone investigation and in person interviews and factual research will take the place of those classes.  Case Studies will be due to me on February 17, 2013 no later than midnight. Presentation materials and class plans and guest speakers names and bios will be due 7 days before your scheduled class presentation. The team must also meet with me either in person or by conference call to discuss the presentation in advance.

Reading assignments will be posted in the Assignments section of the course website. The assignments are tentative and will be adjusted as we proceed through the material. Review the website regularly.


I plan to take advantage of the technological support that the law school has available to help us investigate Public Interest Law. Everyone should have 24 hour access to LEXIS and to the Internet so that we can read the newest material available. If you need more training in the use of the computer databases, let me know. In addition, I consider e-mail to be an extension of class.


The grade in this course will be based on your performance on the final examination, on your Case Study Report and your Case Study Presentation. The Final Examination will be a take home examination in the form of a set of essays that will challenge you to find interesting connections and themes within the material we build during the course.

Thirty percent (30%) of the grade for this course will be awarded for your performance on your Case Study Report. The Case Study topics will be assigned during the first week of class.

  • Case Study Project Plans will be due on February 3. These plans will describe the work of the team, identify who will be responsible for the main tasks and topics in the Case Study and include a preliminary bibliography and target interview list.
  • The Case Study Reports will be due on February 17, 2013, no later than midnight.

Twenty percent (20%) of the grade will be awarded for your Case Study Presentation including any supporting visual aids, reading assignments and the actual class presentation.

  • Case Study Presentation material, such as assigned reading for your presentation to the class, a discussion guide for student preparation, and guest speakers names and bios and PowerPoints that you and your team wish to use during your presentation must be delivered to me for review one week in advance of your presentation. The team must also meet with me either in person or by conference call to discuss the presentation in advance. The presentation should be divided between team members to allow each to participate in the presentation.

Fifty percent (50%) of the grade will be awarded for your performance on the take home examination.

To encourage your active involvement during the semester, one-half of a grade differential may be based on class attendance, preparation and participation. This element of the grade is directed not at the classes during which you present your Case Presentation but at the introductory classes and those classes presented by other students. I will grade the exams and case studies and presentations and assign a grade for the course. If you are a conscientious, insightful and effective member of the class, your grade may be raised from your course grade to one-half letter grade higher. If you are frequently unprepared and fail to participate, I will consider that performance in lowering marginal grades by one-half of a grade. If you are somewhere in between, I may exercise my discretion to raise your grade by one-half grade depending on the level of your class performance and the proximity of your exam and Case Study and Case Presentation grade to the nearest margin. 

Participation is impossible without attendance.  Absences will be a negative factor in my application of this grading factor. A class roster will be passed around each class; your own signature after your printed name will be evidence of your presence that day.
I consider electronic mail to be an opportunity to extend the class beyond its usual form and time limits. E-mail to me (which I will forward to all class members, unless you specifically ask me to keep a message private) is counted as part of your class participation in the course.


By enrolling in this class, a student grants a license to Professor Staudt and to Illinois Institute of Technology, severally, to publish that student's assigned work for the course on the Web or through other technologies, crediting the student as the author of the work, and to quote from the work, without limitation on length, so long as the quoted language is credited to the student author.


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Copyright © 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009 Ronald W. Staudt