The Unemployment Action Center (UAC) offers excellent litigation experience for law students and provides a significant community service. UAC advocates (mostly first- and second-year law students) provide free legal representation for claimants regarding unemployment benefits. In adversarial hearings before administration law judges at the Department of Labor, advocates conduct direct examinations, cross examinations, and make closing arguments on behalf of their clients. Hence, students can gain legal experience from defending real clients who need representation. Furthermore, students involved in leadership on UAC's Board of Directors learn about the realities of running a non-profit corporation and the challenges facing public interest organizations. Many advocates consider their work with the UAC to be one of the most rewarding aspects of their law school experience.
Started as a clinical program at NYU School of Law in 1981, the UAC has since blossomed into one of the leading providers of legal services for unemployment hearings in New York City. In 1985, the UAC incorporated as a completely student-run non-profit corporation. The organization now includes chapters and students from Cardozo, Hofstra, Brooklyn Law, Fordham, and New York University Law Schools.