State Bar Health Law Section Awards Summer Stipends

The Health Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia launched an exciting new opportunity this year for health law students, a summer internship stipend for students interested in participating in unpaid health law positions. Students seeking summer work in federal or state government agencies, nonprofit legal services or health care organizations were eligible.

“These positions can offer students a valuable alternative experience to the traditional law firm setting,” said Erin Fuse Brown, associate professor of law and liaison to the section. “However, it can be challenging for students to accept unpaid positions when needing to pay for summer living expenses.”

The section awarded stipends to a few deserving students at each Georgia law school based on their academic success thus far in law school, interest in health law and commitment to pursuing a career in health law in Georgia, including law practice, research or policy development. Elizabeth Grace Balte (J.D. ’19), Michael Foo (J.D. ’20) and Peter Nielsen (J.D. ’19) were selected from among many qualified applicants at Georgia State Law.

“Working with the health law unit of Atlanta Legal Aid Society has demonstrated the breadth of legal issues patients face when experiencing a health crisis, such as housing, employment discrimination, estate planning and access to benefits,” said Balte. “This stipend has made it possible for me to spend the summer advocating for clients with medical problems who would not otherwise be able to afford legal services.”

“Through my internship with the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I have put writing, litigation, and advocacy skills to use in actually helping clients,” said Foo. “Plus, working at the Office of General Counsel has helped me understand how health law is influenced by more than just the health care sector – clients’ health can be influenced by issues as varied as cybersecurity, patent, and even employment.”

Nielsen spent his summer at the Office of the Mental Health Advocate within the Georgia Public Defender Council. “The position with OMHA allowed me to gain experience in criminal law, assisting attorneys who represent indigent criminal defendants suffering from mental health issues,” said Nielsen. “This was a wonderful complement to the work I did during the school year in the HeLP Legal Services Clinic at Georgia State Law, which offers civil legal assistance to low income patients of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and their families.”

“Over the last few years, the Health Law Section has been increasing its commitment to law students and young attorneys across Georgia,” said Fuse Brown. “Many of our students have benefited from attending section-sponsored continuing legal education and networking events, as well as the financial support of the annual health law award. We are grateful for the section’s support of our students.”