Students participating in the Health Justice Project have a unique opportunity to gain important legal skills, represent clients and principals in critical areas of need, respond to health disparities in our community, as well as play an integral role on our interprofessional team. Together, we make a tangible difference in the lives of low-income people in Chicago and nationally. The Health Justice Project invites students to operate at a professional level and to take personal responsibility for the quality and future of the Health Justice Project, its clients and their own development as lawyers.
Law students participate in the MLP in the following ways:
- Once a legal or social issue is identified by a partner, Client Advocates enrolled in the Introduction to Health Justice Project course, conduct an initial interview, provide brief advice and refer patients to Student Attorneys or outside organizations for representation and resolution of their health harming legal needs. Client Advocates also oversee medical debt forgiveness and disability appeal applications and give trainings to community members.
- Student Attorneys, enrolled in the Health Justice Project & Interdisciplinary Health Advocacy courses, provide training to healthcare providers who work with low-income patients so that they can screen for and identify social and legal issues that could negatively impact health. Student Attorneys may be involved in a variety of legal matters, including public benefits, disability, housing, utilities, medical debt, immigration and education.
- Student Legislative Attorneys, enrolled in the Health Justice Policy course, represent local and national nonprofits and work with Health Justice Project partners and clients to devise policy strategies to overcome systemic barriers to health.
The Health Justice Project offers the following courses:
Access to Health
Introduction to Health Justice
Health Justice Project (live client clinic)
Interdisciplinary Health Advocacy (taken in conjunction with the Health Justice Project)
Health Justice Policy
Advanced Health Justice Project
Advanced Health Justice Policy
The Health Justice Project provides an opportunity to learn lawyering skills by connecting theory and practice through direct client interaction and participation in the clinic. Between the various course offerings, the clinic emphasizes the development of skills in interdisciplinary practice, client interviewing and counseling, fact finding and analysis, legal research and document drafting, pursuit of administrative and other legal remedies, policy development, and creative problem solving for the benefit of clients.
These skills are learned in the context of team and group work, with an emphasis on collaboration and interdisciplinary problem solving. Using this collaborative model, all clinic members are exposed to the range of cases handled in the clinic, terminology and culture of healthcare and public health, and the access to health barriers for low-income people. You will be encouraged to reflect on these experiences developing lawyering skills, interacting with the social, justice and healthcare systems in which your cases originate, and realizing your own personal philosophy of lawyering.
As a student in the Health Justice Project, you will have the opportunity to:
Practice Traditional and “Preventative” Lawyering Skills in Context
The clinic gives you the opportunity to engage in experiential learning and the development of practical lawyering skills through policy development, direct client representation and the use of legal and non-legal remedies.
Gain Experience in Exercising Responsibility
You will assume ultimate responsibility for matters of critical importance to individual clients and public health.
Work in Collaboration and Partnership
By partnering with each other, and participating in the MLP, you will learn the importance of interdisciplinary approaches and collaboration with individuals engaged in the practice of law, public policy, medicine, social work, public health, organizing, media, and epidemiology, among others.
Enhance Creative Problem-Solving
You will practice innovative problem solving by engaging in strategies that complement litigation, including targeted policy development, working with the media, and client empowerment.
Lay the Foundation for Lifelong Learning
You will learn to think independently and to examine your own learning processes and experiment with multiple techniques and approaches in order to find the ones that work best for them.
Embrace Social Justice, Service and Values
You will gain firsthand knowledge of social and legal disparities in low income and minority communities and the effect lawyers can have on access to health and justice in these areas. An emphasis will be placed on the importance of public interest service in all areas of the legal profession.
To enroll in any Health Justice Project course, prospective students must complete an application. The Health Justice Project selects students for enrollment in the Fall and Spring semesters during the month of March in the previous school year. The application is available here. The deadline for applications for the following academic year is March 15th.
The Health Justice Fellowship is awarded to a second or third year law student on an annual basis. The Fellowship provides the student with an opportunity to design and complete a project aligned with the Health Justice Project mission. The prestigious fellowship includes a tuition scholarship. To apply for the Health Justice Fellowship, prospective law students must complete an application. The 2014-2015 application is available here. The deadline is April 15th.