Students at a desk

Unemployment Compensation Clinic

This clinic focuses on assisting low-income clients with unemployment compensation matters. Students receive valuable hands-on training in:

  • Interviewing clients
  • Appearing before administrative judges
  • Applying the rules of evidence
  • Preparing cases
  • Drafting appellate briefs

All students represent multiple clients over the course of the clinic and therefore have expanded opportunities to develop and hone their trial advocacy skills. Students can take advantage of two supervising attorneys.

Learn more about the clinic by contacting Professor Michael D. Simon at or contacting the clinical legal education office.

Clinic News

Unemployment Comensation Clinic has won 5 cases so far this academic year

Professor Simon and the clinic have had 12 hearings so far this academic year. They have won 5 cases, 1 case was transferred and the clinic is currently awaiting decisions on 5 cases.

Unemployment Compensation Clinic helped nearly 80 clients in their claims

Duquesne Lawyer

In one spring semester in 2013 (a recent clinic year) Duquesne Law helped nearly 80 clients in their unemployment claims. The student teams had handled roughly 60 evidentiary hearings, some of which involved multiple appearances, and 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.

Unemployment Compensation Clinic Receives Pennsylvania Bar Association Pro Bono Award

The Unemployment Compensation Clinic 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. During 2009-2010, the students in the Unemployment Compensation Clinic handled 87 clients at Unemployment Compensation referee hearings throughout the Greater Pittsburgh region.