HeLP Legal Services Clinic Celebrates 10 Years

Save the Date!

  • Thursday, Sept. 14
  • Donations in honor of the 10th anniversary are greatly appreciated and will benefit the Charity Scott Summer Law School Scholarship, a stipend for summer students who work at the HeLP office.
  • More information will be posted soon about this event on the Center for Law, Health & Society website.

“When HeLP students embark on their careers, they have the advantage knowing both the benefits of inter-professional collaborations and the benefit of working directly with the medical staff and the families referred to them for assistance.”  — Dr. Robert Pettignano, Medical Director of the Health Law Partnership and Pediatrician at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

The Health Law Partnership Legal Services Clinic at Georgia State Law celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2017. The clinic is part of the Health Law Partnership (HeLP), an award-winning, nationally recognized medical-legal collaboration among Georgia State Law, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. This collaboration between lawyers and medical professionals provides low-income and minority children receiving care at Children’s with free civil legal services, addressing issues such as poor housing conditions that exacerbate asthma and barriers to access medical treatment or obtain medications.

Through the clinic, law students work on selected HeLP cases involving issues of public benefits, disability, education, housing and family law. Students assume responsibility for clients in real legal matters, under close supervision of a faculty member.

“The clinic offers the opportunity for students to experience practicing law before they graduate,” said Lisa Radtke Bliss, associate dean of experiential education and clinic co-director. “They develop skills in client interviewing, counseling and representation, negotiation, research and drafting, and case management.”

The clinic also provides the unique opportunity to work in an interprofessional team. Medical students and residents from Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory University School of Medicine, as well as graduate students of public health, social work and bioethics from Georgia State and other universities participate in the clinic.

“Participation in the HeLP Legal Services Clinic expands the concept of ‘us.’ It provides students the opportunity to expand skills, such as collaboration, communication and problem-solving,” said Sylvia Caley (M.B.A. ’86, J.D. ’89), clinical professor and HeLP’s director. “Working together also encourages and nurtures respect for each profession, and it’s rewarding for patients because we achieve concrete improvements.”

The inter-professional approach is beneficial to all parties involved including the clients, students and legal and medical professionals, Dr. Robert Pettignano, HeLP’s medical director, asserted.

Since 2007, students in the HeLP Legal Services Clinic have handled 250 cases with 199 clients from 25 counties in Georgia and out of state. They have prepared 25 wills, 20 advance directives and 17 powers of attorney. Students have also secured almost $1 million in Social Security and Medicaid benefits, more than $100,000 in education services, and more than $17,000 in housing benefits.