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Equal Justice America: Disability Rights\Health Law Clinic

Law 839A/839B

6 credit hours (4 clinical and 2 academic) or
4 credit hours (2 clinical and 2 academic), 2 semesters required

Student attorneys advise and represent disabled and elderly clients and their families in a variety of transactional matters, administrative proceedings, and civil cases in state and federal court.

The Clinic caseload is broad, though each case involves significant issues of health law and requires the utilization of health law practice skills. Examples include challenging denials of access to health care, Social Security disability benefits, Medicaid and Medicare, and special education advocacy. Student attorneys also represent clients in the preparation of a range of legal documents, including wills, health care proxies, "living wills," powers of attorney, supplemental needs trusts, and other specialized legal instruments. Student attorneys assist families seeking guardianship of disabled adult children, and planning for the future of family members with disabilities.

Student attorneys develop sophisticated interviewing, counseling, and drafting skills, as well as the ability to deal with legal problems often encountered by the elderly, disabled, and their families. The Clinic seminar includes preparation for utilizing statutory and regulatory systems central to health law practice, as well as negotiation, administrative hearing simulations, and case rounds. A principal goal of the Clinic is to equip student attorneys to work effectively with scientific and medical experts and evidence, including learning how to read medical charts, research medical literature, and understand the similar and differing perspectives and communication styles of health care professionals.

Case assignments will accommodate the schedules of evening and part-time students. Some off-campus meetings with clients may be necessary.