Clinic - Helping Elders Through Litigation and Policy Help

Credits: 3.00
Faculty: Deirdre Lok

Student-attorneys will develop lawyering and counseling skills such as client interviewing, drafting and argument of motions, trial preparation and representation in court and at hearings. Clients' cases will be litigated in fora such as: Family Court to obtain Orders of Protection in an elder abuse case; Housing Court to prevent evictions, negotiate settlements on rent arrears and to enforce rights to repairs; Supreme Court to challenge arbitrary Agency decisions affecting benefits and housing or in Article 81 Guardianship proceedings; Administrative hearings to challenge improper terminations of public housing, denials of Social Security/SSI or other public benefits like Food Elder abuse is a rampant and complex phenomenon, touching many areas of legal practice. The HELP clinic combines the students? elder law practice in Family Court, Criminal Court, Housing Court and guardianship proceedings in Supreme Court with a seminar that addresses the broad spectrum of legal areas in which elder abuse can play a critical role. By acquiring a substantive legal foundation in the various practice areas, as well as learning from expert guest speakers in the medical, public service, mental health, social service, government and legal fields, students will gain a multi-faceted, nuanced understanding of trauma as it interacts with aging, health, domestic violence and family relationships, and the role attorneys can play in prevention and problem solving. Students will have the opportunity to engage in the basics of elder law transactional work by drafting health care proxies, powers-of-attorney and other advanced directives, as well as participate in other mock attorney-client exercises to teach best practices with respect to these basic documents. Students will share lessons learned in their unique clinical environment with fellow seminar participants and will hone problem solving skills by workshopping difficult cases. Students will be placed at one of several legal organizations such as Brooklyn Legal Services, JASA?s Legal/Social Work Elder Abuse (LEAP) Program, the Brooklyn Family Justice Center, the Brooklyn District Attorney?s Office, Elder Abuse Unit, the Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale or individual elder law practitioners. Seminar Credis: 2.0 Seminar: The clinic's 2 credit seminar component will provide context and support for the students' direct service and policy work. Students will be introduced to the nature and ethics of elder law in a public interest context. This course will address the full range of rights and remedies that comprise an elder rights focused attorney's toolkit, including advanced planning via powers of attorney and other legal documents, housing court proceedings, capacity assessment, guardianship and public benefits. Elder abuse and its impact on the attorney-client relationship will also be covered. They also will learn about the provision of important ancillary services to their legal representation vital to forming a thorough base of knowledge for an Elder Law practice. In addition to litigation, studentsĀ¹ casework and seminar exercises may therefore involve applications for, and appeals within the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) benefit program, emergency rent arrears assistance and applications for Medicaid Home Care and the Medicare Savings Program (which pays certain eligible seniorsĀ¹ Medicare premiums). Students would also be required to draft a health care proxy, power-of-attorney and other advanced directives and participate in other mock attorney-client exercises to teach best practices with respect to these basic documents.

Enrollment Notes:

The clinic enrolls approximately five students each semester.


Letter grade only.