Health Law Clinic
This is a full-year clinic offered for 10 credits (5 credits/semester) and students will receive separate letter grades at the end of the year for the clinic work and seminar. The clinic is open to day and evening students in their last two (2) years of law school and Accelerated JD students in their last year. Students will represent low-income, chronic users of the healthcare system in a diverse range of legal matters aimed at stabilizing patients’ lives and thus improving overall healthcare access and outcomes. The clinical practice has a particular focus on mental health and disability. Students represent low-income individuals with mental and physical disabilities and/or their family members in both litigation and administrative matters such as guardianship cases in the Probate Court, appeals of denials of disability benefits before the Social Security Administration, and denials of public and private health insurance coverage. Students also may assist clients with other health-related legal issues such as accessing public benefits and drafting health care proxies. The clinic’s docket is intentionally varied to allow students to gain a broad range of experiences representing clients. Through direct client representation, students will have an opportunity to develop lawyering skills, such as client interviewing and counseling, developing case theories, fact investigations,
legal problem solving, drafting pleadings, motions and memoranda, and advocating on behalf of clients in Court, administrative proceedings, and within the healthcare system. Students will work individually on behalf of clients and may also work in teams. In addition to intensive client contact, students will have the opportunity to interact with healthcare providers, government officials and/or advocates in the non-profit sector. Students will also gain substantive legal knowledge in the relevant areas of health-law, and will acquire experience resolving real ethical issues that arise in practice. Finally, students may have the opportunity to engage in a health-law research and/or policy project directly related to one or more of the cases in the clinic, including projects that leverage the use of technology to improve access to justice for poor and underserved litigants.
The Health Law Clinic is appropriate for students interested in any practice of law, but may be of particular interest to students wishing to pursue a broad range of careers within the health law field. Graduates of the clinic interested in health law careers have gone on to practice health law at large and small firms; work as in-house Counsel for insurers, hospitals, and nursing homes; work in leading health policy organizations; work in compliance and data privacy; do non-profit work; and work for State and Federal government agencies. Graduates have also successfully pursued completely different career paths, including criminal prosecution and defense, family law, corporate law, and many other careers.
Students enrolled in the Health Law Clinic are required to attend a weekly two-hour seminar covering the relevant substantive areas of health-law, lawyering skills, and ethical issues that arise in practice. The clinic seminar, taught by Professor Sarah Boonin, will also explore how issues of disability, mental illness, class, race, and gender impact clients’ access to health care and interactions with the legal system. Students are also required to attend weekly supervision meetings and to write journal entries critically reflecting on their experiences in the clinic and seminar. Students will be supervised in their case work by a Clinical Fellow, Attorney Benjamin Golden. Professor Boonin will also assist with supervision, as needed. Students are required to spend at least 13 hours per week engaged in clinic work, in addition to the time required for the seminar, journal entries, and supervision. Students are encouraged (not required) to keep Tuesday and/or Thursday mornings free (Court days). Preference will be given to students who have taken courses in the Health Law Concentration, but these courses on not required. Students must have completed or be currently enrolled in Evidence. Spanish language skills are also an advantage. If you have any questions, please contact Professor Sarah Boonin.