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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Medical-Legal Community Partnership Practicum (Spring 2019)

  • Course Number: LAW-808
  • Class Number: 03558
  • Instructor: Barbara Siegel

Course Description

This Practicum course provides students with mentorship from practicing attorneys at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County.  The course is focused on working in a Medical Legal Community Partnership setting with vulnerable populations.  Students are offered opportunities to work directly with clients, prepare legal documents and participate in policy discussions.  Students will gain substantive exposure to multiple legal issues and programs impacting vulnerable clients, including but not limited to:  Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Medi-Cal, County Health Programs, Supplemental Security Income, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Homelessness, Housing, Domestic Violence and Immigration.   The course combines clinically based, on-site practical experience caring for patients/clients at Medical Legal Community Partnerships with seminars and case conferences.

This course is interdisciplinary, with medical students rotating through the course on a monthly basis.  Law and medical students will meet together for seminars and monthly case reviews.

Course Details

LAW 808 may be taken for up to two semesters, for a combined total of 5 units.  Most students enroll in 2 or 3 units per semester.  Clinical hours will be set individually for each student, although every attempt is made to schedule hours so that all students are together for seminars and case reviews multiple times during the semester.   2-unit students must put in 6 hours of clinic time per week.  3-unit students must put in 9 hours of clinic time per week. Students must have 3 to 4 hour solid blocks of time available to work in the Medical Legal Community Partnership.   . 

Note that LAW 698 is a prerequisite or must be taken simultaneously with this course.

Class size is limited, with Spanish speakers given priority.  Professor’s approval is required for enrollment.  Contact Professor Siegel by e-mail at

All clinical hours are off campus, located at the Neighborhood Legal Services of L.A. County office at The Wellness Center, located on the campus of LA County+ USC Medical Center.

All students must complete a Live Scan before the first day of class.  Students will be given specific instructions and information on where and how to complete the Live Scan.  (NOTE:  Prior Live Scans are not acceptable for this purpose.) 

In addition, all students must receive a health screen by the L.A. County Department of Health Services.  The health screen includes TB skin testing and communicable disease screening.  Students who prefer to have screening performed by their personal physician will be provided with the necessary paperwork to submit to L.A. County Dept. of Health Services. 

There are no exams for this course.  Students will produce written documents related to their case work and/or research assignments.  Students will also do oral case presentations at a monthly case review.  Students keep a weekly journal that is submitted through Blackboard.  There is no textbook; all reading and other assignments are posted on Blackboard.

Students complete a self-assessment at the beginning of the semester to assess proficiency on legal research, written and oral communication, client interviewing skills, problem solving and negotiation skills as well as workplace skills.  Students also assess themselves on substantive knowledge in the areas pertinent to the Medical Legal Partnership setting.    In collaboration with professors and a mentor attorney from Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, students set skill and substantive knowledge goals for the semester.  Case assignments and clinical workload are individualized according to each student’s proficiency and goals.

Learning Objectives:  At the end of the semester, students will be able to:

Interview clients, including survivors of domestic violence and those with Limited English Proficiency, using the IHELP convention.
Counsel a client on a legal issue related to the Social Determinants of Health
Devise legal case plans for clients’ Social Determinants of Health issues
Advocate for a client with another party or parties whether or not agreement is reached
Compose a research memo
Present a case review for input
Set professional development goals with a mentor

Unit Value: 2 to 3 units
Grading Options: Numerical or CR/D/F
Exam: None
Writing Requirement: No
Skills Requirement: yes
Participation: Required
Enrollment Limitation: 8 students 





Course Details

  • Unit Value: 2 or 3
  • Grading Options: Numerical or CR/D/F
  • Schedule: F 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Exam: None
  • Writing Requirement: No
  • Skills/Experiential Unit Requirement: Yes
  • Participation: Required and graded
  • Enrollment Limitation: 8 students