Academics: Professional Training

Advocacy for the Elderly Clinic

Adjunct Professors Kathleen Caldwell and Claire Curry; 8 Credits (3 in the fall and 5 in the spring)

In response to the rapidly growing elderly population and the increased demand for elder law expertise, this yearlong clinic trains students to provide legal services to older persons. Under the supervision of an attorney, students represent elderly clients in negotiations, administrative hearings and court proceedings on a variety of legal matters, including basic wills and powers of attorney, guardianships, consumer issues, Medicaid and Medicare benefits, nursing home regulation and quality of long-term care, elder abuse and neglect, and advance medical directives.

Students develop the practical skills needed to become effective elder advocates, participating in client interviewing, counseling, negotiation and trial advocacy. Additionally, students have the opportunity to engage in advocacy for the elderly at the system level, which may involve policy analysis and advocacy work with partnering organizations, including the Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA), the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Virginia Elder Rights Coalition and the Senior Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association. Students participate in interdisciplinary projects in the field of elder law, especially in the health care domain. For example, students develop a comprehensive taxonomy of possible legal issues confronted in geriatric care and identify specific legal problems presented by individual patients. Additionally, in cooperation with JABA and the local geriatricians and other providers of elder care in the planning district, students may conduct public education sessions on specific elder law topics for senior citizen groups at senior centers and elder care facilities throughout Charlottesville.