In the Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors Clinic (MLPS), Hastings students develop key lawyering skills through representation of low-income elderly patients at a UCSF medical clinic. Students assist clients in legal issues related to health, such as advance health care planning, estate planning, and public benefits.
Over the course of the semester, students learn about the complex intersection of law and health, the implications for an aging population, and the role of lawyers in combating poverty and health disparities. Students develop skills in interviewing, critical thinking, document drafting, project management, and “whole person” lawyering.
Students work closely not only with the clinical instructor, but with UCSF health care providers such as physicians, nurses, and social workers. Students gain experience in an interdisciplinary environment and will understand how the law impacts health care delivery on a day-to-day basis. Weekly seminar sessions enable students to reflect on their experiences representing low-income seniors, practice their lawyering skills, and deepen their understanding of socio-legal determinants of health.
Open to: 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th semester students. Limited to eight students.
6 units: -unit non-GPA class, and 3-unit fieldwork component, graded pass-fail, must be taken concurrently.
Prerequisites: Wills & Trusts; Elder Law (Course prerequisites may be waived with approval by the instructor.) Admission to the Clinic requires consent of the instructor.
Classroom Component: Students must attend two full-day mandatory orientation sessions; one session before the start of the semester and a second session during the semester. MLPS students meet weekly for a two-hour seminar which focuses on developing the substantive expertise and skills necessary to effectively serve the client population. The seminar engages students in thoughtful discussion and practice-based learning about incapacity and estate planning, public benefits, interdisciplinary ethics, elder abuse, how to evaluate client capacity, end-of-life care and decision-making, and other issues.
Fieldwork Component: Students meet with patients at a UCSF geriatric clinic and in their homes when patients are home-bound. Students represent low-income seniors in estate planning and public benefits coverage. Students learn transactional lawyering skills such as drafting advance health care directives, durable powers of attorney for finances, and simple wills. Additionally, students advise patients on issues of health insurance and evaluate their eligibility for public benefits, including Medi-Cal, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Students learn interdisciplinary collaboration as they work side by side with physicians and other UCSF medical professionals and engage in joint learning sessions.
To enroll: Click here to Apply Now!
Details on the Fall 2013 Clinic can be found here.
Sarah Hooper, JD
Adjunct Professor of Law, Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors (MLPS)
Assistant Director of Programs of UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy