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Description of MPLP Services

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MPLP is a cooperative effort between Legal Services of South Central Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School (UMLS). Our goals are: to support the advocacy of field programs;  to coordinate advocacy for the poor among the local programs; and to assure that a full range of advocacy continues on behalf of the poor. MPLP provides state support services to local legal services programs and other poverty law advocates.

MPLP is legally and programmatically separate from, but coordinates its work with the UMLS Clinical Law Program and the Michigan League for Human Services.


We work directly with local advocates through regular task force meetings that respond to locally-identified training needs; through frequent publications alerting advocates to legal developments; and through open access to case consultation, co-counseling, or referral for local advocates.  See our Priorities and Case Acceptance Criteria for further details on MPLP services and how to access them.

Structure and Staffing 

MPLP is jointly staffed by LSSCM and the UMLS. It is subject to the LSC restrictions. MPLP provides a full range of state support services. See the MPLP Workplan.

The UMLS Clinical Law Program (CLP) accepts referrals of restricted and unrestricted cases and projects from local programs. One of the primary goals of the Clinic is to focus on systemic impact cases and projects, including appeals, class actions, or other law reform litigation. The Clinic and LSSCM also administer, with the State Bar and Community Legal Resources, the MI-LAPP referral program, a statewide pro bono program that focuses on services to community organizations, complex litigation and systemic advocacy cases.

MPLP has contracted with the Michigan League for Human Services (MLHS) to provide legislative tracking, analysis and advocacy services in the areas of public benefits, health care, education, housing, elder law, and consumer rights. MLHS will also contract with Capitol Services for assistance and support in providing these services.

Other Statewide Programs 

Four other legal services programs are doing statewide/regional advocacy in addition to MPLP.

The Center for Civil Justice in Saginaw focuses on community education, legislative and administrative advocacy, and litigation on behalf of clients in a 14-county service area in eastern Michigan. Currently, CCJ is focusing primarily on governmental programs for low-income clients including public benefits and housing programs.

Michigan Legal Services in Detroit is focusing on legislative and administrative advocacy and litigation in the southeastern part of the state, primarily in the areas of public assistance, health, mental health and homelessness prevention.

Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service focuses on discrimination in education, employment, housing, and public places; abuse and neglect; Social Security benefits; Medicaid, Medicare and other insurance; housing; Vocational Rehabilitation; HIV/AIDS issues; and many other disability-related topics.

The Student Advocacy Center of Michigan provides free, non-legal advocacy to students (and their parents) who are eligible for general and special public education programs.

Although two of these programs have a regional focus, the nature of their work is expected to have indirect statewide impact. MPLP will consult with and/or refer requests for service to these programs when appropriate.

The statewide programs meet regularly to coordinate services.