Experiential Learning – College of Law http://law.gsu.edu Public law school in Atlanta GA Fri, 09 Dec 2016 22:50:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://aeadmin1.gsu.edu/?v=4.6.1 Bliss Teaches Importance of Clinical Legal Education and Access to Justice in India http://law.gsu.edu/2016/12/09/bliss-teaches-importance-clinical-legal-education-access-justice-india/ Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:30:03 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?p=196581 Lisa Radtke Bliss, clinical professor, associate dean of experiential education and co-director of the Health Law Partnership (HeLP) Legal Services Clinic, traveled to India in November to teach the course, “Clinical Legal Education and Access to Justice,” at National Law University, Delhi (NLU).

“I taught NLU students about access… more »

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Lisa Radtke Bliss, clinical professor, associate dean of experiential education and co-director of the Health Law Partnership (HeLP) Legal Services Clinic, traveled to India in November to teach the course, “Clinical Legal Education and Access to Justice,” at National Law University, Delhi (NLU).

“I taught NLU students about access to justice issues and clinical education methods, and, they taught me about their legal education and justice system,” Bliss said. “We worked together to understand where we had things in common and how different ideas about clinical education can be applied to specific issues that are being faced by populations in India who are most in need of help.”

The course explored various forms of clinical legal education and how it can support students’ development as professionals. Bliss also explained the impact clinical education can have on society’s future through improving access to justice and building a network of ethical, competent and professional lawyers.

During the course, Bliss outlined the models of clinical education most suitable to India’s legal and legal education systems. Students participated in activities to learn how law clinics can be responsive to the justice needs in their communities and designed different models of community education and service clinics to help address those needs.

“At the end of each day, students shared their takeaways and how they expected to apply those lessons in practice,” Bliss said. “One of the things they found most beneficial was the course’s experiential format approach to teaching interviewing skills and techniques. The expressed how important and necessary those skills will be in their roles as professionals.”

The course was funded by India’s government and organized through the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Global Initiative for Academic Networks (GIAN) in Higher Education. GIAN is a program that invites global academic and industry experts to share their expertise and experiences to help enhance academic resources in India and address issues facing Indian communities.

Bharti Yadav, assistant professor at NLU, Delhi, invited Bliss to teach the course because of her vast experience promoting access to justice and clinical legal education through Georgia State Law clinics and experiential programs. The course was open to students from NLU, Delhi and other universities.

“Students had a very enriching experience in Professor Bliss’ class. It broadened their understanding of access to justice and how clinical legal education can be practiced in law school,” Yadav said. “And, they benefitted from the valuable inputs and suggestions she gave.”

On the last day of the course, Bliss’ students taught her a few things as they discussed the differences and similarities between India and the United States over a traditional Indian lunch.

“We enjoyed talking about our cultures. We shared our favorite Netflix shows, and I surprised them by my love for spicy things,” she said. “They made a poster for me with messages of appreciation, and we took some silly photos to celebrate our time together. They also asked who my favorite student was, which made me laugh. Even though I had a long journey home, I smiled the whole way.”

Bliss’ visit coincided with the Indian holiday Diwali, known as the Hindu festival of lights, which celebrates the triumph of light over darkness. Traditions during the five-day celebration include exchanging sweets and gifts, lighting candles, called diyas, decorating homes with colorful lights and rangoli – patterns created with flower petals, colored rice or powder – and large fireworks displays.

“While there are many festivals in India, this one is particularly special and widely celebrated with many traditions,” Bliss said. “I was privileged to spend the holiday with Professor Yadav and participated in her family’s traditions. I learned so much about Indian culture. Being able to visit during Diwali and share in an Indian family’s celebration of this festival was an experience I will never forget.”

Bliss says that each experience she has teaching and presenting abroad informs her research and scholarship, which she finds important for fellow professors and Georgia State Law.

“International faculty exchange programs help Georgia State Law establish relationships that further the education, research and scholarship of our students and faculty,” Bliss said. “It is through these opportunities that we develop our global knowledge. For law professors, it is particularly important, because not only are we focusing on research, we are also increasing the exchange of knowledge about law, legal systems and justice.”

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HeLP Provides MLP Model for Other Schools, including ones in Macon, S.C. http://law.gsu.edu/2016/12/08/help-provides-mlp-model-schools-including-one-macon/ Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:59:57 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?p=197048 In 2014, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed SB 352, authorizing government funding of medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) that meet specific standards and making Georgia the second state after New York to endorse MLPs. Health Legislation and Advocacy students at Georgia State Law helped draft the bill under the direction of Sylvia B. Caley (M.B.A. ’86,… more »

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Sylvia Caley (M.B.A.'86, J.D. '89

Sylvia Caley (M.B.A.’86, J.D. ’89) and HeLP colleagues helped start one in Macon among Mercer University School of Law, Navicent Health and the Georgia Legal Services Program.

In 2014, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed SB 352, authorizing government funding of medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) that meet specific standards and making Georgia the second state after New York to endorse MLPs. Health Legislation and Advocacy students at Georgia State Law helped draft the bill under the direction of Sylvia B. Caley (M.B.A. ’86, J.D. ’89), clinical professor of law, director of the Health Law Partnership (HeLP) and co-director of HeLP Legal Services Clinic.

With the passage of the bill, Caley was hopeful more communities would create medical-legal partnerships throughout Georgia. She and HeLP colleagues helped start one in Macon among Mercer University School of Law, Navicent Health and the Georgia Legal Services Program.

“When we established HeLP, one of the primary goals was to serve as a model for the development of other programs. We are honored to have been able to assist Macon in the development of its MLP,” Caley said.

The lawyer designated for the new Macon partnership, Tara Vogel (J.D. ’14), is familiar with HeLP and jumped at the chance to be part of the team in Macon.

“I was a student in the HeLP Clinic and loved my time there,” Vogel said. “Through that experience, I learned that when a person is facing a health problem, the last thing they should have to worry about is a legal issue causing or exacerbating the medical concern. Particularly for the low income or elderly, a medical-related legal barrier can have severe consequences. I wanted to join our MLP to help make a difficult time in a person’s life a little easier by removing any legal obstacles.”

The Macon MLP’s client base spans more than 20 counties, and Vogel considers one of the partnership’s greatest benefits the combined resources and efforts of the three organizations involved.

“Each partner organization has an honest desire to improve the lives of our patients/clients, and they understand the unique challenges that serving rural areas creates,” Vogel said. “Combining our resources and efforts will allow us to reach more people than we do individually.”

The MLP is located at the Navicent hospital, allowing the legal and medical teams to closely work together to achieve results.

“This proximity has helped quickly establish a good relationship between medical workers and the partnership and has allowed for a quicker exchange of information,” Vogel said. “I already feel like I am a part of the team for each patient/client and that my legal contribution is just one factor that assists the patient in achieving their health goals.”

Vogel said Georgia State Law and HeLP have been an invaluable resource to the Macon partnership. “Sylvia Caley and the rest of the HeLP team have met with us many times, answering questions, offering advice, sharing sample forms, etc. We are extremely grateful for their guidance and support.”

Caley and members of the HeLP Clinic have provided their consulting services to other locations, including Case Western Reserve School of Law and Rainbow Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, and the law and medical schools and legal services program in Memphis, Tenn.

In May, Emily Suski, who taught Family Law and was a clinical supervising attorney for the HeLP Clinic, was recruited to start an MLP at the University of South Carolina School of Law. She’ll apply her learnings from HeLP to develop a beneficial partnership in that community.

“Other groups seek our counsel because we have three community partners committed to establishing and sustaining our MLP: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta Legal Aid Society and Georgia State Law,” Caley said. “We have a model program of offering direct client services, professional education programs, systemic advocacy, and program evaluation, research and scholarship.”

With their focus still on MLP expansion in Georgia, Caley and her team have a meeting planned in December with physicians in Augusta.

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Assar Named Best Overall Oralist at National Health Law Moot Court Competition http://law.gsu.edu/2016/11/14/assar-named-best-overall-oralist-national-health-law-moot-court-competition/ Mon, 14 Nov 2016 15:22:49 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?p=193396 Three Georgia State Law students, Yasmin Assar (J.D. ’18), Nathan Chong (J.D. ’18) and Matt Sessions (J.D. ’17) advanced to the octofinal round in the National Health Law Moot Court Competition Nov. 4-5 in Carbondale, Illinois. Assar beat out members of 29 other teams to win awards for Best Preliminary Oralist and Best… more »

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Yasmin Assar (J.D. '18) and Nathan Chong (J.D. '18)

Yasmin Assar (J.D. ’18) (left) beat out members of 29 other teams to win awards for Best Preliminary Oralist and Best Overall Oralist. She and Nathan Chong (J.D. ’18) and Matt Sessions (J.D. ’17) advanced to the octofinal round in the National Health Law Moot Court Competition Nov. 4-5 in Carbondale, Illinois.

Three Georgia State Law students, Yasmin Assar (J.D. ’18), Nathan Chong (J.D. ’18) and Matt Sessions (J.D. ’17) advanced to the octofinal round in the National Health Law Moot Court Competition Nov. 4-5 in Carbondale, Illinois. Assar beat out members of 29 other teams to win awards for Best Preliminary Oralist and Best Overall Oralist.

“I was completely shocked when my name was called as winning best oralist,” Assar said. “When I heard my name I think my jaw literally dropped to the floor.”

The competition problem dealt with a constitutional rights violation in the criminal context, Assar said. The teams submitted a brief at the end of September and then attended the competition for oral arguments. Teams had to argue for both the petitioner and respondent during the preliminary round.

To prepare for the competition, members of the team co-wrote the brief and spent around a month preparing for the oral argument portion.

“We divided the problem up by issues on certiorari. Our student coach, Matt Sessions, set up tentative schedule for completing research and drafts and we wrote our individual portions then combined them to compile the brief,” Chong said. “We then edited it to make sure it read as a single voice.”

Other members of moot court acted as judges, asking questions and providing feedback. “The help from other moot court members really gave us a chance to think about issues we may not have considered. Their feedback was indispensable in our preparation for the completion,” Assar said.

Though there was not a faculty coach for the competition, Jennifer Chiovaro (J.D. ’85), senior principal lecturer, assisted with the written portion of the completion.

“Professor Chiovaro was a huge help for brief drafting,” Chong said. Additionally, Sessions provided advice and feedback throughout the whole process.

After advancing to the octofinal round, the team was knocked out by the number one seeded team at the competition, The Barksdale Warriors.

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Students, Professor Collect 200+ Books for Fugees Family http://law.gsu.edu/2016/11/02/students-professor-collect-200-books-fugees-family/ Wed, 02 Nov 2016 15:34:52 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?p=191462 Georgia State Law Professor Jonathan Todres and students Chae Mims (J.D. ’17), and Min Ji Kim (J.D. ’18) delivered more than 200 donated books on Oct. 21 to the Fugees Family, a Clarkston-based nonprofit organization that works with refugee children.

The books were the culmination of a drive sponsored by Georgia… more »

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Fugees Family Book Drive

Georgia State Law Professor Jonathan Todres and students Chae Mims (J.D. ’17), and Min Ji Kim (J.D. ’18) delivered more than 200 donated books on Oct. 21 to the Fugees Family, a Clarkston-based nonprofit organization that works with refugee children.

Georgia State Law Professor Jonathan Todres and students Chae Mims (J.D. ’17), and Min Ji Kim (J.D. ’18) delivered more than 200 donated books on Oct. 21 to the Fugees Family, a Clarkston-based nonprofit organization that works with refugee children.

The books were the culmination of a drive sponsored by Georgia State University College of Law’s Center for Law Health & Society. Three student organizations, the Student Health Law Association, Parents Attending Law School and International and Comparative Law Society, spearheaded the book drive. Georgia Perimeter College, now a new part of Georgia State University, also helped to collect books.

Fugees Family Book Drive

Georgia State Law students Chae Mims (J.D. ’17), Professor Jonathan Todres, and Min Ji Kim (J.D. ’18), visited withLuma Mufleh (right) and the Fugees Family, a Clarkston-based nonprofit organization that works with refugee children when they dropped off the books.

Human Rights in Children’s Literature is about how children learn about their rights and their duties to respect others’ rights,” Todres said. “Ensuring children know their rights is empowering, and as Fugees Family aims to empower refugee children through its work, this was a natural fit. We’re happy to be able to support their work in any way we can.”

The book drive was held in conjunction with a book signing and presentation by Todres for his book, Human Rights in Children’s Literature: Imagination and the Narrative of Law (Oxford University Press 2016), which he co-wrote with Sarah Higinbotham.

“While delivering the books [to the Fugees Family], I got to observe students’ book report presentations in an assembly” said Mims, president of the International and Comparative Law Society. “Not only did the students give presentations, but they also offered each student candid feedback. The feedback demonstrated a bond and a genuine support the students had for one another.”

“When we visited the Fugees Family, we had the pleasure of sitting in on the morning assembly where the students presented book reports,” said Kim, the Student Health Law Association member who picked up and delivered the books. “The students discussed difficult themes of hope, good and evil, family and community. It was inspiring to hear the students talk about how the themes of the books related to their lives and experiences”

Founded as a soccer program by Luma Mufleh, the Fugees Family runs the Fugees Academy, the only school in the nation that is dedicated to refugee education. It also provides year-round soccer programs for children ages 10-18, after-school tutoring and a summer enrichment camp. The academy enrolls more than 100 students from more than 20 countries. Mufleh was also named one of CNN’s “Heroes of 2016.”

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October 2016 Update from the Associate Dean of Experiential Education http://law.gsu.edu/2016/10/04/october-2016-update-associate-dean-experiential-education/ Tue, 04 Oct 2016 14:59:36 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?p=189354 “Georgia State University graduates receive excellent practical training. We love to hire them!”

A partner in a local law firm told me this when we ran into one another at a recent event.  Although this is a statement that I and many other Georgia State Law professors have heard for years, it was nice to… more »

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Lisa Bliss

Lisa Bliss, associate dean for experiential education

“Georgia State University graduates receive excellent practical training. We love to hire them!”

A partner in a local law firm told me this when we ran into one another at a recent event.  Although this is a statement that I and many other Georgia State Law professors have heard for years, it was nice to hear it again. It is even more true today, given the rapid expansion of our experiential curriculum.

A recent inventory of our classes revealed Georgia State offers 22 experiential courses. Included are our six clinics, externships and other courses that provide students with the experience of working with clients on real matters, as well as simulation courses. And, this number continues to grow.

Our Center for Clinical Programs continues to develop as a model law firm under the leadership of our clinic directors, including Ted Afield, Nicole Iannarone, Sylvia Caley (M.B.A.’86, J.D.’89) and me. Since our move to 85 Park Place last summer, our three in-house clinics, HeLP Legal Services Clinic, Investor Advocacy Clinic and Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, operate as departments within a single law firm.

The Faculty Innovation Grant Program continues to inspire the integration of experiential education throughout the curriculum as well as the development of experiential courses. For example, this grant program supported the development of a new course in Civil Pretrial Litigation, a simulation course offered exclusively to our part-time students, starting this fall.

This newsletter highlights how both our students and faculty are engaged with the broader legal community, such as Bonnie Powell (J.D. ’99), director of our Landlord-Tenant Mediation Clinic and recently elected chair of the State Bar of Georgia’s Section on Dispute Resolution, and the work of Professor Charity Scott, who was honored for her work in developing the Health Law Partnership and the HeLP Legal Services Clinic. It also demonstrates the work experience that our students are gaining through our in-house clinics.

This newsletter is a small window into the opportunities we offer to students to help them grow into professionals who are sought after by employers.

 

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Externship Seminar Marries Leadership, Lawyering Effectiveness to Promote Professional Identity http://law.gsu.edu/2016/10/03/externship-seminar-marries-leadership-lawyering-effectiveness-promote-professional-identity-formation/ Mon, 03 Oct 2016 20:49:49 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?p=189338 Now in its second year, the Externship Program’s required seminar for first-time externs facilitates each student’s deliberate exploration of their professional identity as a future lawyer, said Kendall Kerew, Externship Program director and assistant clinical professor, who developed the seminar using the concept of lawyer as leader and the essential competencies… more »

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Kendall Kerew with externship student

Now in its second year, the Externship Program’s required seminar for first-time externs facilitates each student’s deliberate exploration of their professional identity as a future lawyer, said Kendall Kerew, Externship Program director and assistant clinical professor.

Now in its second year, the Externship Program’s required seminar for first-time externs facilitates each student’s deliberate exploration of their professional identity as a future lawyer, said Kendall Kerew, Externship Program director and assistant clinical professor, who developed the seminar using the concept of lawyer as leader and the essential competencies of the profession to facilitate subject-matter delivery and student engagement.

“To teach the externship seminar, I employ a facilitated discussion and modified case rounds approach in which all students share and contribute to the conversation,” Kerew said. “I see my role as one of posing thought-provoking questions that prompt a deeper self-reflective inquiry into the issues raised.”

Kerew also utilizes interactive leadership exercises and plays a short TED Talk (or part of a longer one) to prompt further discussion and reflection on each topic.

Each of the seven seminar classes focuses on a specific aspect of lawyering effectiveness. In addition, the classes are grouped to address three questions. The first two classes are focused on the question of “Where am I now and where do I want to be?”

In the first class, students are introduced to the concept of professional identity formation and the expectation that they will use their externship experiences to explore their professional identities. In the second class, students focus on core values and life priorities.

After students have identified their core values, Kerew uses an exercise to help students to consider how well they are prioritizing what is important to them.

“For example, if a student determines that her most important core value is family, she will then be forced to examine how well she is prioritizing family in her life,” Kerew said. “Through the exercise, a majority of students realize that they are not making time for what is important to them and are having a hard time achieving balance, something essential to long-term career happiness.

“If a student tells me that she will reserve one hour to talk with her sister each week, I will follow up at mid-semester to see if she has done so,” Kerew said. “More often than not, the student fails to follow through, which leads to a great one-on-one discussion about the challenges of maintaining balance.”

The third, fourth, and fifth classes focus on the question, “How well do I express myself and listen to others?” The specific topics explored are: networking and business development, communication skills, and teamwork and problem-solving.

The sixth class tackles the question, “How well do I perceive others and how open am I to differences?” The specific topic explored is cultural awareness.

The last class is dedicated to student oral presentations, a six-minute TED Talk inspired by the intersection of each student’s developing professional identity, one of the Shultz-Zedeck’s 26 Lawyering Effectiveness Factors, and the student’s externship experience.

Student responses have been extremely positive. When asked what is the most valuable part of the seminar, students have said: “gaining some insight into how I am perceived by others and my personality strengths;” “learning what our values actually were so we could plan our career around that” (emphasis in original); “considering effective ways to be a better lawyer;” and “subjects we don’t learn in other classes.”

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New Center for Access to Justice to Highlight Problems Within Justice System http://law.gsu.edu/2016/10/03/new-center-access-justice-highlight-problems-within-justice-system/ Mon, 03 Oct 2016 20:33:56 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?p=189286 Georgia State University College of Law has established the Center for Access to Justice, a regional and national base for the study of issues relating to access to criminal and civil justice for those with limited financial means.

Similar centers exist across the United States, but there are none in the Southeast region.

“There… more »

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Georgia State University College of Law has established the Center for Access to Justice, a regional and national base for the study of issues relating to access to criminal and civil justice for those with limited financial means.

Similar centers exist across the United States, but there are none in the Southeast region.

“There is a critical need in this area to ensure that the justice system functions fairly and effectively,” said Lauren Sudeall Lucas, assistant professor of law and the center’s faculty director. “The experience of lower-income civil and criminal litigants is often fundamentally different from those with financial means. There are a lot of problems endemic to that system and not a lot of information available to understand the full scope of the problem or to find effective solutions.”

An important step in ensuring access to justice is making sure lawyers are available when needed to vindicate a client’s legal claim or defend a client against criminal charges, Lucas said. On the criminal side, excessive caseloads and a lack of resources can make it difficult for public defenders to provide their clients with effective representation.

On the civil side, where individuals are often not entitled to a lawyer regardless of their ability to pay, the issue may be whether a client can afford legal representation or has access to a lawyer at all, Lucas said. For example, there are six counties in Georgia with no attorneys and 40 counties with 10 attorneys or fewer. Yet more than 60 percent of low- and moderate-income households in Georgia experience one or more civil legal needs per year.

Lucas will work with Darcy Meals, the center’s assistant director, and student fellows to generate, highlight and disseminate research that helps identify and better understand the problems people have in gaining access to justice, as well as inform potential solutions.

The center was recently awarded a $79,000 grant from the Charles Koch Foundation to fund the first stage of a two-phase study on the civil legal needs of indigent criminal defendants. In conjunction with Georgia State’s Sociology, and Criminal Justice and Criminology departments, the center will work with public defender offices in Fulton and DeKalb counties to assess the nature and pervasiveness of civil legal issues facing those who enter the criminal justice system.

“The center will expand Georgia State Law’s ethos of undertaking initiatives designed to benefit communities in the administration of justice and doing so in a manner that furthers our students’ legal education and stresses the importance of these issues,” said Steven J. Kaminshine, dean and professor of law. “It will also work with other schools and colleges on campus to address critical issues to help that population be better served.”

“The center will bring together scholars, practitioners, law and policymakers, and members of the community to explore the difficulties low-income individuals face in attempting to navigate the justice system and to work together to develop solutions,” Lucas said.

Lucas said elements of the center’s work will be incorporated throughout the existing curriculum, in addition to a course, Access to Justice: Law Reform, she and Meals will co-teach in fall 2017.

Reform is needed, Lucas said. Of the low-income Americans who know they need legal help and seek it, nearly one million are denied assistance from legal aid providers every year because of insufficient funding resources.

These legal problems include the most important aspects of individuals’ lives: custody of their children, the ability to remain in their long-term housing, compensation for work they have performed and government benefits enabling them to put food on the table and obtain health care, Lucas said. And for those criminal defendants who receive inadequate representation, or for those who are incarcerated for the failure to pay fines and fees associated with the criminal justice system, the loss of one’s liberty is at stake.

“The center aims to create a supportive environment for students to think about these issues, to contribute to access to justice through public interest and pro bono work, and to engage with those practicing in the field,” Meals said.

Lucas agreed, adding, “When students go into practice, our hope is that they will continue to be mindful of these issues and incorporate access to justice ideals into their own work.”

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Investor Advocacy Clinic Students Successfully Mediate Case Telephonically http://law.gsu.edu/2016/09/30/investor-advocacy-clinic-students-successfully-mediate-case-telephonically/ Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:00:00 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?p=189294 Georgia State Law students participating in the Investor Advocacy Clinic represent investors in all aspects of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration proceedings, from initial client interviews through arbitration hearings, including telephonic mediation.

The terms of the standard agreement between brokers and their customers requires investors to arbitrate most claims before FINRA.… more »

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Kelly Robinson (J.D. ’17)

“When you are face-to-face you have more of an opportunity to build a relationship with the mediator and paint a picture of your client and their case,” said Kelly Robinson (J.D. ’17). “Another bigger issue was that the mediator wasn’t in the room to examine the information that was outlined in the documents. While we were able to send a short memo about the story of the case, we couldn’t include all 500-plus documents that we were relying upon the mediator referencing.”

Georgia State Law students participating in the Investor Advocacy Clinic represent investors in all aspects of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration proceedings, from initial client interviews through arbitration hearings, including telephonic mediation.

The terms of the standard agreement between brokers and their customers requires investors to arbitrate most claims before FINRA. The forum offers parties in active arbitration cases free or low-cost telephone mediation for claims of $50,000 or less.

Under the supervision of assistant clinical professor and clinic director Nicole G. Iannarone, students were preparing for an arbitration hearing when they learned they would be part of a telephonic mediation. Though the nontraditional medium was out of the norm, they were up for the challenge.

Michael Williford (J.D. ’17)

Michael Williford (J.D. ’17)

“We prepared the way you would for any trial,” said Michael Williford (J.D. ’17). “We figured if we prepared for an arbitration hearing, we couldn’t be unprepared for mediation.”

The students created trial notebooks on the facts of the case, damages calculations and roughly 500 pages of documents including tax returns, industry reports, broker disciplinary reports and other supporting documents. After preparing the notebooks, they fully understood all aspects of the case, but they realized conducting mediation over the phone would present unique challenges to advocating for their client, Iannarone said.

“When you are face-to-face you have more of an opportunity to build a relationship with the mediator and paint a picture of your client and their case,” said Kelly Robinson (J.D. ’17). “Another bigger issue was that the mediator wasn’t in the room to examine the information that was outlined in the documents. While we were able to send a short memo about the story of the case, we couldn’t include all 500-plus documents that we were relying upon the mediator referencing.”

Despite the challenges presented by the format, the students adapted and adjusted their strategies to the situation at hand.

“The takeaway for me, aside from developing some valuable skills, is that you have to prepare, prepare, prepare, and even then you have to be able to shift your strategy on the fly as things unfold,” Williford said. “It is not a static or entirely predictable environment, but that’s what makes it exciting.”

Robinson believes her experience will help her become a better lawyer.

“The clinic does a great job emulating a firm environment. We are responsible for determining the next steps from potential client intake to closing the case,” she said. “When I started the clinic, the idea of calling a client and asking about their case was terrifying. Now, I’m completely confident when speaking with clients and have even gained experience arguing with opposing counsel over discovery disputes, something I never thought I would able to do my second year of law school.”

Iannarone commended her students for how they handled the case.

“They did an excellent job for their client,” she said. “The client’s interaction with the students when the case ultimately ended says it all: the students offered the client a handshake, which was refused in favor of a hug.”

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HeLP: Improving the Wellbeing of Atlanta’s Vulnerable Kids http://law.gsu.edu/2016/09/28/help-improving-wellbeing-atlantas-vulnerable-kids/ Wed, 28 Sep 2016 16:15:42 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?p=189270 The social, economic and physical conditions in which chronically ill or disabled children live can be detrimental to improving their health. The Health Law Partnership (HeLP), an interdisciplinary collaboration between lawyers and medical professionals, has been helping low-income children in Atlanta overcome these challenges and improve their health and wellbeing for the last… more »

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Sylvia Caley (M.B.A. '86, J.D. '89)

“Healthcare resources are scarce and expensive. To maximize the benefit to patients, we need to address health-harming legal problems,” said Sylvia Caley (M.B.A. ’86, J.D. ’89), clinical professor and HeLP’s director. “Teaching medical professionals to identify social determinants of health that may be harming the child, to screen for them, and then refer those affected to a legal resource provides a holistic approach to addressing issues affecting the health of vulnerable individuals.”

The social, economic and physical conditions in which chronically ill or disabled children live can be detrimental to improving their health. The Health Law Partnership (HeLP), an interdisciplinary collaboration between lawyers and medical professionals, has been helping low-income children in Atlanta overcome these challenges and improve their health and wellbeing for the last 12 years.

Challenges include poor housing conditions that intensify asthma symptoms; or poverty that prevents families from seeking medical treatment or purchasing necessary medications. Additionally, the healthcare system is complex and often hard for families to navigate.

HeLP is a partnership among Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Georgia State Law, Emory University School of Medicine and Morehouse School of Medicine. It provides low-income and minority children receiving care at Children’s Healthcare with free civil legal services.

“Healthcare resources are scarce and expensive. To maximize the benefit to patients, we need to address health-harming legal problems,” said Sylvia Caley (M.B.A. ’86, J.D. ’89), clinical professor and HeLP’s director. “Teaching medical professionals to identify social determinants of health that may be harming the child, to screen for them, and then refer those affected to a legal resource provides a holistic approach to addressing issues affecting the health of vulnerable individuals.”

HeLP provides attorneys who can intervene to improve the environments in which many low-income children live, resulting in an improved quality of life. The HeLP legal services staff address basic needs affecting the patients’ health, such as ensuring they receive their entitled full state and federal program benefits, are living in safe and healthy housing conditions and are able to access appropriate educational services.

“The system chronically-ill and disabled patients have to navigate is so convoluted and complex even our social workers have a hard time accessing the information needed and addressing the problems these families encounter,” said Dr. Robert Pettignano, HeLP’s medical director. “Many times without the assistance of one of our attorneys, these families would not get the services they need.”

Georgia State Law’s HeLP Legal Services Clinic allows law students, medical students and residents, and public health, social work and bioethics graduate students to work together and serve the partnership’s clients.

“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,” Caley said. “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. Pettignano asserted.

“The knowledge gained by the professionals working together is cumulative – each assisting the other to better understand our complex medical system,” he said. “My experience with HeLP has been eye opening on many levels, starting with the realization that professions that may not have traditionally worked together as colleagues can do so very effectively. I also can see how we have a positive impact on individual cases and some of the issues these patients and their families face on an more systemic basis through systemic advocacy.”

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Mitchell Joins HeLP Legal Services Clinic as Supervising Attorney http://law.gsu.edu/2016/09/27/mitchell-joins-help-legal-services-clinic-supervising-attorney/ Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:45:51 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?p=189252 James “Jimmy” Mitchell has joined the HeLP Legal Services Clinic as a supervising attorney and brings a wealth of legal practice and research experience to his new role. Most recently, he was employed as an associate with Nall & Miller LLP. He defended both national and local corporations in governmental liability, constitutional law,… more »

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James Mitchell

James “Jimmy” Mitchell joined the HeLP Legal Services Clinic as supervising attorney.

James “Jimmy” Mitchell has joined the HeLP Legal Services Clinic as a supervising attorney and brings a wealth of legal practice and research experience to his new role. Most recently, he was employed as an associate with Nall & Miller LLP. He defended both national and local corporations in governmental liability, constitutional law, product liability, and insurance and business litigation.

Prior to working with Nall & Miller, Mitchell was a federal staff attorney with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. There he assisted Court of Appeals judges in the disposition of civil and criminal cases and conducted extensive research around federal and state legal issues.

While at the University of Notre Dame Law School, Mitchell volunteered for CASA, an organization that appoints trained volunteers to advocate in juvenile court proceedings for the best interests of children who have suffered abuse or neglect. Mitchell’s experience with CASA instilled in him a passion to advocate on behalf of children.

“Jimmy excelled in law school and coupled with his experience, he is particularly well suited to teach and mentor our students,” said Sylvia Caley (M.B.A ’86; J.D. ’89), director of HeLP and co-director of the clinic. “We are thrilled that he has joined the HeLP Clinic as clinical supervising attorney.”

“I was excited to jump right in this summer,” said Mitchell. “With student Blinn Combs (J.D. ’17), we already have successfully appealed a termination of disability benefits for a child with serious health conditions.”

Working with the clinic appealed to Mitchell from multiple angles: he is interested in teaching, supervising students, legal practice and research. “I cannot imagine a better opportunity to teach students while also providing essential legal services to the community,” he said.

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