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Unemployment Compensation Clinic

The Unemployment Compensation Clinic focuses on unemployment compensation matters for low-income clients. Students receive valuable training in litigation skills for direct application in their representation of unemployment compensation clients.

Each unemployment compensation case gives students experience in client interviewing, case preparation, direct and cross-examination, application of the rules of evidence, and oral presentation before a referee. All students represent multiple clients over the course of the clinic and therefore have the opportunity to develop and hone their trial advocacy skills.

Unemployment Compensation Clinic in the News

Duquesne Lawyer Spring 2013

Our students have helped nearly 80 clients in their unemployment claims. By the end of March 2013, the student teams had handled roughly 60 evidentiary hearings, some of which involved multiple appearances, and approximately seven administrative appeals to the Board of Review.

In many instances, the students faced experienced counsel and performed exceptionally well. In more than half of the appeals to the Board of Review, the students were successful in having the decision of the referee reversed and the client granted benefits. A number of students took hearings over their semester break, as well as during spring break, and worked on their personal free time to help clients obtain their benefits. Of note, in the last two years, the students were successful in two Commonwealth Court appeals that resulted in the decisions of the board being overturned and benefits granted to the clients.

Clinic Receives Pennsylvania Bar Association Pro Bono Award

Supervising attorney Michael Simon and clinic student Lori Buntman accept the 2010 PBA Pro Bono Award

The Unemployment Compensation Clinic, led by Supervising Attorney Michael Simon (L’ 80), received a 2010 Pennsylvania Bar Association Pro Bono Award.

The award recognizes attorneys and judges who have made exceptional contributions to improve civil legal aid in the Commonwealth.  The award ceremony was held on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at the Allegheny County Bar Association, Public Service Committee Volunteer Appreciation Event at the Reed Smith Centre.

During 2009-2010, the students in the Unemployment Compensation Clinic handled 87 clients at Unemployment Compensation referee hearings throughout the Greater Pittsburgh region. At the time, this was the largest number of clients ever served by the Unemployment Compensation Law Clinic.