Health Law Clinic

General Description

The Health Law Clinic provides hands-on lawyering opportunities to students under the guidance of a practicing attorney. It serves low-income individuals with health-related legal problems, including ones that prevent them from working and/or result in their losing access to health care.

Services to the Public

The Health Law Clinic represents qualified adults and children in cases in which individual income does not exceed approximately $25,000 (with leeway given, depending on the size of the client’s family). The clinic seldom accepts cases outside of Allegheny County.

Potential clients should call 412-648-1300, so that an intake sheet may be prepared. Return calls will be made as soon as it is possible for a more extensive interview to determine whether the clinic can represent the individual.

Description of Fieldwork / Client Representation

Law students who have completed three semesters of law school may enroll in the clinic, a one-semester offering. In their client work, they will conduct interviews, gather evidence in the form of medical records and reports, draft legal memoranda for the courts, prepare clients for hearings, and represent them at hearings. Students appear at administrative hearings and in state and federal courts in Social Security, Medicare, private insurance, guardianship, and Medical Assistance matters under the supervision of the supervising attorney.

Each student works with a partner, when possible, and has a caseload of between six and eight cases at a time, all in various stages of development. Students appear in court at least once during the semester.

Description of Classroom Component

Students meet with the supervising attorney for an average of five hours per week. In addition to two scheduled classes, an additional office hour is held each week to discuss students' client work; students report on cases they are readying for hearing, report on one that has just occurred, consult with one another on case challenges, etc.

The classroom component includes several skills-oriented classes with the supervising attorney. Trial Techniques, 7th Ed. by Thomas Mauet is the course book for the skills-oriented classes; a mock trial is held in each clinic at the end of the semester, and materials are employed during the entire semester pertaining to the issues in the mock trial; substantive materials relevant to classes are posted on the Health Law Clinic TWEN Web site. All classes are participatory and interactive.

Credits

7

Transcript / Awarding of Credits

At the end of the semester.

Extension

Yes, for two credits.

Eligibility Requirements / Prerequisites

3 semesters of law school; full time student.

Application Procedure and Selection Basis

Students register for the Health Law Clinic as they do for any other class. Students are randomly selected.

Faculty / Staff

Stella L. Smetanka, Clinical Law Professor and Supervising Attorney

Jane LeHew, Clinic Administrator