Affirmative Litigation Training

Affirmative Litigation Training (ALT), offered through a combination of online and in-person learning activities, provides a comprehensive introduction to the process of prosecuting a complex affirmative case in federal or state court. It includes a mix of interactive sessions, webinars and multi-media lectures on the substantive law of claim justiciability, as well as practical exercises on discovery, complaint drafting, motion practice and emergency relief. Together, these elements, and the course as a whole, provide a solid foundation for strengthening legal aid practice and moving our community toward a renewed focus on high impact, change-oriented advocacy. ALT includes three weeks of online activities plus three days in-person.



September 6-23 (Online), September 27-29 (Onsite).

Registration opens mid-March.

Topics covered in this course include:

  • Causes of Action for Affirmative Litigation - Section 1983
  • Complaint Drafting
  • Complex Case Analysis and Planning
  • Damages
  • Discovery Planning and Practice in Complex Litigation
  • Exhaustion and Preclusion
  • Motion to Dismiss Practice and Surviving a Motion to Dismiss
  • Non-Monetary Relief
  • Nuts and Bolts of Federal Practice
  • Seeking Broad Based Relief
  • Includes alternatives to class actions for LSC programs
  • Seeking Emergency Relief
  • Sovereign Immunity
  • Standing and Mootness
  • State Action and Color of Law
  • The Clerk's Perspective
  • The Judge's Perspective
  • TRO Motion Practice

Faculty Bios

Dick Bauer is a senior attorney in the Housing Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services, where he has worked for 29 years. He served as a mentor in the Center for Legal Aid Education's (CLAE) inaugural Leadership Institute, and from 2008 to 2009, was CLAE’s senior equal justice training fellow. An MIT and Northeastern Law School graduate, Dick has been in legal services since 1982, and a member of the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure since 1998. In his other life, he is co-chair of the Jewish Labor Committee, co-chair of adult education for Congregation Kahal B'Raira, chair of the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission, and the Somerville designee on the Middlesex Canal Commission. 

Aneel L. Chablani serves as Director of Advocacy at Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) in Toledo, Ohio.  ABLE is an unrestricted poverty law firm serving low-income individuals and groups in Northwest and West Central Ohio.  As Director of Advocacy, Aneel oversees impact litigation and broad based advocacy in ABLE’s practice groups covering Housing and Community Economic Development, Healthcare and Public Benefits, Migrant Farmworker Rights, and Education.  Prior to joining ABLE, Aneel worked with the Capital Appeals Project in New Orleans representing inmates on Louisiana’s death row.  Aneel began his legal career with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.  He is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law and the University of Notre Dame.

Joel Ferber is the Director of Advocacy for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.  Joel has litigated Medicaid and other public benefits cases in the United States District Courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He was also one of the lead attorneys representing Missouri consumer groups in the settlement of a lawsuit involving the reorganization of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Missouri: a settlement that established the Missouri Foundation for Health, the largest health care foundation in the state of Missouri. Joel has been a presenter at numerous state and national conferences regarding litigation, Medicaid, public benefits, and low-income health issues, and has written extensively on these and other subjects in Clearinghouse Review, the St. Louis University Law Journal and elsewhere. A graduate of John Hopkins University and New York University School of Law, Joel is a father of 20 year old twins, an avid fan of the New York Giants and the Missouri Tigers, and a lover of ethnic food and music.

Miriam Hirsch Sheline earned a J.D. degree from Salmon P. Chase College of Law in 1984.  She has been a Staff Attorney for Pro Seniors since 2003 where she practices Elder Law with emphasis in housing; Medicaid; and consumer litigation.  From 1984 to 2003 she was a partner with Hirsch & Sheline where her practice emphasized family law, probate, real estate and bankruptcy. She has presented seminars on  the Affordable Care Act, Estate Planning; Medicaid, Grandparent Rights; Guardianships; Advance Directives; and Consumer/Debtor Rights.      She is a member in good standing with the Ohio Bar Association, Cincinnati Bar Association, CBA and OBA Elder Law Committees; She is also a committee member of the Ohio Poverty Law Center Health Task force, Consumer Task force and Litigation Directors committee.  She also serves on the CBA Lawyer Referral Service Advisory Board and has held positions as Secretary and Chair.  She is admitted to Ohio Bar; U.S. District Courts  for both the Southern and Northern Districts of Ohio, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. 

Alice NelsonAlice K. Nelson has practiced with Southern Legal Counsel (SLC) (a public interest law firm) since 1988 and was Executive Director from 1988 to 2004. She received her B.A. from City College of New York in 1965, a M.S.W. from the University of Georgia in 1967, and a J.D. from Stetson College of Law in 1976. Ms. Nelson worked for the Developmental Disabilities Law Project at the University of Maryland and Bay Area Legal Services. She was a law clerk to the Honorable Thomas A. Clark (dec.) when he was on the old Fifth Circuit (now the Eleventh Circuit). She is a member of The Florida Bar; the Middle, Southern and Northern Districts of Florida; the Fifth, Eleventh, and District of Columbia Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. For the 2009/10 academic year Ms. Nelson was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Turkey teaching a graduate course in the United States Constitution’s First Amendment at Ankara University Law School.

John Schrider, Director, Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC, an affiliate of Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati. Expertise in the areas of fair housing, community development, tenant rights, unfair lending practices, and foreclosure prevention.  Over thirty years of successful litigation representing low income tenants in major fair housing cases. Broad experience in general civil rights litigation and policy advocacy.  Awards include: recipient of the Housing Opportunities Made Equal Founders’ Award and the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition buddy gray Lifetime Achievement Award. Began career as legal aid advocate while in college. Received J. D., cum laude, the University of Pennsylvania.

Shelley White is the Litigation director at New Haven Legal Assistance Association, she has litigated numerous cases in federal and state courts (involving the Fair Housing Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicaid, and federal and state constitutional claims. Twenty-five years at her program, Shelley has previously worked for the ACLU of Connecticut (for five years) and for one year as a lobbyist for Connecticut legal services program. She has been an Affirmative Litigation trainer for over 10 years and participated in the design of this program. 


This course has it all: expert faculty who've fought in the trenches,
comprehensive reading material, 
and teaching tools to fit any learning style.
I cannot imagine a better training course to prepare you for impact litigation.

- Claudia M. Cano, Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas