Testing Seminar

The Fair Housing Act was intended to end discrimination and segregation in housing. That goal has not yet been fulfilled. This course is designed to offer the student the opportunity to explore how lawyers work collaboratively to make strategic decisions that address important social problems in the context of housing discrimination. Students will take an in-depth look at significant issues related to fair housing law, and will also focus on valuable lawyering skills including fact investigation, working with witnesses, recording experiences and critical thinking.

Suffolk has received grant funding to operate a housing discrimination testing program. Discrimination testing involves sending trained individuals into the community to pose as renters in order to collect information as to whether housing discrimination is occurring. Each student will assist in supervising at least one housing discrimination test during the course of the semester. In class, we will focus on practical skills such as strategic decision making, factual investigation, witness preparation, and recording experiences. We will discuss the various overlapping sources of fair housing law, and examine who is covered, what actions are prohibited as discriminatory, who can be sued, and who has standing to sue. We will take an in depth look at jurisdictional issues, and matters of proof in discrimination cases, using hypothetical scenarios and real life examples. Various professionals working in the housing community will speak in class and will offer their unique perspectives on issues relating to discrimination based upon their personal experiences.

This course offers an opportunity to see the law in action while making a difference in our community.