We believe that doctors and lawyers should work together to help people reach their full potential and have safe, secure, and healthy lives.
The Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors Clinic (MLPS) is an innovative, award-winning clinic at UC Hastings. The clinic partners with UCSF and the San Francisco VA Medical Center to provide advance health care, estate planning, public benefits, and wrap-around legal services to older adult patients.
Students develop key lawyering skills such as interviewing, critical thinking, document drafting, project management, and “whole person” lawyering. Through working with physicians, nurses, and social workers, students gain interdisciplinary experience and a deeper understanding of the complex intersection of law and health. Over the course of the semester, students learn about the implications for an aging population, and the role of lawyers in combating poverty and health disparities.
MLPS provides services to patients of the UCSF Geriatric Care and homebound programs. Patients at the San Francisco VA Medical and Palliative Care Clinics receive services through the MLPS-Veterans Project.
The UC Hastings MLPS Has Been Featured In...
Our Community Partners
Pro Bono Partners
Interested in partnering your firm with our program? Contact Yvonne Troya.
Why take the MLPS Clinic?
An award-winning clinic, the Medical Legal Partnership for Seniors (MLPS) provides a unique way to gain practical legal skills through one clinic experience. No matter what area of law interests you, you will learn essential transactional skills, work closely with individual clients, gain broad civil law experience, and learn how to navigate complex ethical issues.
Why should I participate in a clinic during law school?
Personalized feedback sets clinics apart from traditional internships or externships. Students participating in clinics not only gain hands-on experience, but receive support and customized feedback from professors whose role is to help you reach your professional potential. Student also receive training in relevant substantive law through a companion class that runs concurrently with the clinic fieldwork component. Clinics help different areas of the law come alive, from casebook to practice. Students receive school credit for their clinic work.
What makes MLPS different?
While all clinics provide practical experience, MLPS gives students a unique opportunity to manage cases from start to finish. Additionally, students work with multiple clients during a semester across intersecting areas of civil law. Students usually meet with clients outside of the office setting, including in client homes all around San Francisco and the VA, so every day is different. Students have a chance to grow and hone their client interviewing and counseling skills, legal analysis, legal drafting, and other transactional and advocacy skills.
What if I don't have any previous legal or clinic experience?
That’s okay! MLPS is designed to teach you practical law office skills in a supportive environment. Even if you do have prior legal experience, MLPS focuses on helping you transition from thinking like a paralegal to thinking like a lawyer. MLPS students work together closely as a team, which creates a unique sense of community.
What about health law experience?
Not required! The MLPS Clinic goes beyond health law; in fact, those with an interest in all areas of civil law or client-based practice should apply. MLPS provides students with timely and direct exposure to evolving fields of law and policy. Additionally, through its partnership with professionals at UCSF, the Clinic provides a unique opportunity for cross-disciplinary work—an important skill for attorneys.
Are you really superheroes?
Actually, our clients are superheroes, and we are proud to work alongside them. MLPS students build relationships with their clients while making a real difference in their lives. Students help clients prepare health care and estate planning documents; advocate for income, health and food benefits; stay in their homes; and gain protection from elder abuse.
How do I apply?
Click here to download the Common Clinic Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors application. Priority will be given to students who apply by April 21 at 5 p.m. with rolling admission after that date.
Join us for an upcoming 2017 info session:
- Mon., April 10, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
- Mon., April 17, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
- Tues., April 18, 12-1 p.m.
Community Justice Clinics Library, 100 McAllister (the Tower), Suite 300. Snacks provided!
Feedback from former MLPS students:
" There is ZERO doubt that my experiences with MLPS played a huge part in my success and I have you to thank for that!"
"I am very grateful to have been a part of the clinic, because I now understand what having clients is like and, though I am still training to be more careful about providing advice and interacting with clients, I have learned and experienced things that books could never teach me."
"Overall, I feel that working with the MLPS clinic has been the best experience of my legal career thus far. I am glad to have had this opportunity to develop my lawyering skills, to understand my career goals, to work with an often-ignored community, and most importantly, to reflect on my legal career and my personal values."
Feedback from clients and medical providers:
"The Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors is #1 in my book!"
"You took a community outreach program and added a large measure of human kindness. It was fun to be around good, kind, intelligent people"
"Working with law students in the Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors has been one of the highlights of my 10 years as a physician and UCSF professor. I constantly learn valuable things that inform my care as a geriatrician from the back and forth conversations with Hastings law students about clinical cases. But, more importantly, I have the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion about older adult care, including care of adults developing dementia or who are becoming frail, with students who will be working with older adults in their future careers. MLPS is such a unique and true partnership between medical and legal providers that I am hard-pressed to think of a more rewarding student-based program that yields real results for our patients/clients."
MLPS Program Specifics
3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th semester students.
3-unit non-GPA class, and 3-unit fieldwork component, graded pass-fail, must be taken concurrently. Class size is limited to 8 students, however, a limited number of additional returning MLPS students may enroll in the 3-unit fieldwork component.
There are no pre/co-requisites and no particular experience or background is required.
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 twice 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 planning for incapacity and end-of-life, long-term care, public benefits, complex ethics, interprofessional collaboration, evaluating mental capacity, and more. Classes are often co-taught with medical providers and local attorney practitioners. One of the two weekly seminar classes typically consists of a collaborative session called “Caserounds” during which students gather as a team to present, discuss and strategize about their actual MLPS cases in light of the class material. At the beginning of the semester, additional substantive training takes place during these sessions in lieu of case presentation/discussion.
Students spend 12-15 fieldwork hours per week providing holistic legal representation to UCSF and VA patients from start to finish across multiple areas of law, including advance health care planning, estate planning, public benefits, and housing, in order to stabilize that person’s situation and improve overall health, in collaboration with the patient’s medical providers. Students learn transactional lawyering skills such as drafting advance health care directives, durable powers of attorney for finances, and simple wills, and also learn issue-spotting and advocacy skills as they tackle other legal issues affecting patient health, including access to income (through Social Security, SSI, VA benefits), in-home care (IHSS), health insurance (Medi-Cal), and stable and safe housing. During fieldwork hours, students interview and counsel clients at a UCSF medical clinic and in their homes over the course of several meetings, research factual and legal issues, consult with the supervising professor and other mentor attorneys, manage multiple client cases, draft memos, write letters, execute legal documents, and perform all administrative functions necessary for client-based practice. Students learn interdisciplinary collaboration as they work with UCSF and VA medical providers and engage in joint learning sessions.
We are now accepting applications for the Fall 2017 MLPS Clinic. To apply, submit the UC Hastings Common Clinic Application along with your resume and statement of interest.
Have a question? Feel free to contact a member of our team:
Sara Huffman, JD
Equal Justice Works Fellow | sponsored by PG&E and Latham & Watkins LLP
Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors (MLPS)