If you want to know what happens in the Health Law Clinic, you should see the legal interns representing their clients. You may see them at Probate Court with their supervisors, negotiating appropriate guardianship services or terminating a guardianship. Or in another court, negotiating a result that protects their clients from collections for health care services. Or they may be in the clinic, deposing a guardian.
You may see them at the Social Security Administration with their supervisors, cross-examining an expert witness before an Administrative Law Judge. Or they may be compiling medical records and writing pre-hearing briefs and preparing their clients for hearings - to support a Social Security finding of disability.
You may find them at nursing homes, as they work under the supervision of the regional Long Term Care Ombudsman. All who do not have conflicts of interest are certified by the state to be advocates in the ombudsman program. At the nursing homes, they may be investigating complaints, participating in discharge or other hearings, advising clients or reviewing nursing homes’ compliance with legal standards.
|“After serving as a legal intern, I am more confident and better prepared to begin my career as an attorney. In the Health Law Clinic, I worked on a variety of cases. I represented one client in terminating her guardianship. With another client, I worked to re-establish her daughters’ Social Security disability benefits. Additionally, I assisted an organization which advocated on behalf of minorities facing obstacles to quality health care. Through these experiences, I not only learned different areas of law, but I also enhanced my communication and advocacy skills. Being a good advocate required listening to the clients’ wishes, preparing alternative strategies to achieve their goals, and counseling them regarding the consequences of different legal strategies and personal actions. Moreover, advocacy required a great deal of communication with clients, health care providers, and witnesses, so that I clearly understood the facts and was better able to persuade the court or opposition. In sum, the Health Law Clinic offered a unique hands-on learning experience that is valuable to any future practicing attorney.”
You may see them with their supervisors in the public schools, working with their clients and school personnel to make sure that children are getting free, appropriate public educations, as required by law, or going to a due process hearing.
They may be observing bioethics committee meetings at local hospitals. Or writing a journal and then discussing their observations in their weekly seminar classes. Or they may be learning law and procedure in class. Or they may be presenting to the rest of the class the cases for which they are responsible in case rounds - explaining and brainstorming their strategies for representation.
Or you will very likely see them in the clinic. There they are making phone calls, interviewing clients, maintaining their paper and electronic case files, conducting research, drafting correspondence or pleadings or briefs, meeting at least weekly with their supervisors concerning the clients the interns are representing or doing all the other things that they eagerly do to represent their clients competently, effectively and ethically.
As you can see, during an entire academic year the Health Law Clinic provides a broad range of representation opportunities to people who are some of the most vulnerable – poor, often disabled, sometimes under guardianship.
Health Law Clinic Faculty: