Civil Rights and Mediation Clinic

Faculty: Professor Karen Tokarz 

  • To view the latest brochure article, click here 
  • To view the news release concerning, Civil Rights & Mediation Clinic Supporting Mortgage Loan Foreclosure Mediation in St. Louis City, click here.

The Civil Rights and Mediation Clinic introduces students to civil practice and dispute resolution from a community-based perspective. The Clinic focuses on housing, education, and consumer discrimination, and on municipal court reform, including discrimination in fines, fees, bail, and driver’s license suspensions. Clinic students provide individual representation for low-income clients with housing, foreclosure, education, consumer, and municipal court claims in collaboration with two community legal services providers that protect the civil rights of individuals in these client groups: Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM) and St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council (EHOC). During the semester, clinic students interview, counsel, and represent a minimum of six clients.

Clinic students also provide community representation on behalf of these client groups and engage in a diverse range of community lawyering strategies, including impact litigation, legislative drafting and advocacy, policy development, communication and media advocacy, community legal education ("street law"), and dispute resolution, under the supervision of Professor Tokarz. Clinic students assist with a minimum of six mediations in the St. Louis City Pro-Se Housing Court (and potential new Small Claims Court mediation) and/or at U.S. Arbitration & Mediation.

Past clinic students report gains in a variety of key areas, including writing clearly and effectively, solving complex real world problems, improving client advocacy and dispute resolution skills, contributing to the welfare of the community, understanding people of different racial and class backgrounds, working collaboratively with professionals from other disciplines, learning effectively on one's own through reflective practice, and developing a professional identity


This course is graded on a modified pass/fail basis: HP94, P, LP78, F70; however, if a student registered for more than 6 units earns a high pass, only 6 of the units will carry the grade of HP94 - the other two units will be graded with "CR" ("Credit").

A course from the ethics curriculum. Courses in the areas of housing, consumer, education, and dispute resolution are highly recommended and may affect your priority for placement.

Students must devote a minimum of 21 hours per week to clinic work for 6 credits or 28 hours for 8 credits. Students also must attend a three-hour weekly seminar and meet on a regular basis with Professor Tokarz.


CIVIL RIGHTS & MEDIATION CLINIC faculty and students recently:  

  • Provided training and supervision for 4-8 law interns per semester at the BBB to mediate consumer disputes.
  • Worked with St. Louis City, St. Louis County, members of the Missouri General Assembly, and community housing organizations to draft and promote legislation requiring mortgage foreclosure mediation, and with USAM to establish a foreclosure mediation process.
  • Collaborated with the Missouri Consumers Council to draft and promote legislation protecting debtors from fraudulent threats of prosecution.
  • Developed and taught a 8 week course on Law, Leadership, Negotiation & Peace-Building to juniors at NW High School.

STUDENTS: Click here to view information about the Civil Rights & Mediation Clinic. This handout provides general information that will be helpful for you to know before registering.

Public Interest Law and Policy Speaker Series [view schedule]