Information for Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic Law Students
Welcome to the Tax Clinic Presentation (PowerPoint)
Each associate enrolled in Tax Clinic I is required to maintain office hours at the Clinic and to attend and participate in classroom instruction as scheduled throughout the term. Classroom instruction will focus on specific topics addressing the education and counseling of ESL persons relative to their rights and responsibilities under the Internal Revenue Code; ancillary preparation of federal, state, and local income tax returns for ESL persons; representation of low-income clients in tax controversies before the Internal Revenue Service; and law practice development and management. Classroom instruction will occur on the days and times and at the locations listed on the course schedule, or at the clinical offices as otherwise scheduled. A schedule of classroom instruction will be provided on the first day of class.
You are required to maintain office hours at the Clinic for six (6) hours each week, AND to put in another six (6) hours into “nonclinical” work at the clinic. All told, by the conclusion of the semester, you must have input 84 clinical hours and 84 nonclinical hours to satisfy time requirements for this course. Any student who fails to satisfy these strict hours requirements will receive a grade of “F” for this class. Choose a time slot on the sign-up chart to be available for clients during the Clinic’s regular business hours, i.e., between 9 AM and 4 PM, Monday through Friday. Clinic hours begin during the first week of class.
Important: You must record your clinic and non-clinic hours at the front desk each day you are here. If you fail to do so, you will be responsible to make up unrecorded hours even if you worked them. Merely completing the requisite 168 hours of clinical time is not enough to warrant a good grade in this course.
Office Dress Code
To establish a professional relationship with your clients, you must act and look professional! This is especially true when you meet with international students who come to you for legal advice. When you maintain office hours at Tax Clinic I, meet with clients, or make community-education presentations, you are required to wear appropriate business attire. Please do not wear blue jeans, sweat pants or shorts if you visit the Clinic offices during regular business hours (no matter the reason). Of course, you are required to wear a business suit to any court appearances you make.
Clinicians can expect an average caseload of 15-25 cases per semester. Caseloads vary by semester. The spring semesters bring the largest caseloads.
Instead of a textbook, each clinician may access classroom materials on TWEN. The TWEN site contains:
- Tax Clinic Procedures Manual
- CMS Manual
- PDFs of certain IRS Publications
- Clinic Forms and Templates
- Links to tax related Web sites
Client Management System (CMS)
The tax clinic has developed a client management system much like you will find in other law firms. This system is used to manage client data and case progress. All clinicians will be expected to learn and use the system.
You will be graded on your performance with respect to (but not limited to): client communication, case-load management, writing assignments (both for class and case work), work product quality and timeliness, mastery of office etiquette and procedures, professionalism, mastery of applicable tax law, and quality and timeliness of tax research.
Note: All classes are conducted in our training room located at the Clinics (610 Abbot Rd, East Lansing).
Tax Clinic Bootcamp is MANDATORY! It is meant to bring clinicians up to speed on office procedures, client management and communication, treaty interpretation, and practice and procedure before the U.S. Tax Court.