Experiential Learning – College of Law http://law.gsu.edu Public law school in Atlanta GA Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:03:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://aeadmin1.gsu.edu/?v=4.6.1 BAPP for Clients http://law.gsu.edu/practice-based-learning/bankruptcy-assistance-practice-program/bapp-for-clients/ Fri, 17 Feb 2017 15:28:50 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?page_id=203909 The Bankruptcy Assistance & Practice Program provides two types of services for clients.

The Pro Se Assistance Project Center

The Pro Se Assistance Project Center (“PAP Center”), staffed by volunteer bankruptcy attorneys and law students, provides free legal guidance through 20-minute consultations to individuals who are considering bankruptcy or who are representing themselves in the… more »

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The Bankruptcy Assistance & Practice Program provides two types of services for clients.

The Pro Se Assistance Project Center

The Pro Se Assistance Project Center (“PAP Center”), staffed by volunteer bankruptcy attorneys and law students, provides free legal guidance through 20-minute consultations to individuals who are considering bankruptcy or who are representing themselves in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The PAP Center helps both debtors (people who owe money) and creditors (people who are owed money by someone in bankruptcy). Volunteers provide information about the bankruptcy process and provide limited case-specific advice, but they do not represent parties in court or file pleadings.

After meeting with volunteers in the PAP Center, a limited number of individuals may be provided with additional legal services by the BAPP. These additional legal services are discussed below.

The project is a collaboration between Georgia State Law’s Bankruptcy Assistance & Practice Program, the Bankruptcy Section of the Atlanta Bar Association and the W. Homer Drake Jr. Georgia Bankruptcy American Inn of Court. Note: the Pre Se Assistance Project is not affiliated with the bankruptcy court.

Representation in Bankruptcy Court

The second type of service offered by BAPP to a limited number of individuals is representation in Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings. Only a limited number of individuals will qualify for this additional service. We will determine whether you are potentially eligible for this additional service based on information obtained during your consultation at the PAP Center.

Dates and Hours of Operation
The date and hours of operation for the PAP Center vary. Call to confirm the center it is open before attempting to walk-in.

Atlanta Hours   |  Newton Hours 

Location

Richard B. Russell Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse
9th Floor, Room 9A
75 Ted Turner Drive SW
Atlanta, GA 30303

Lewis R. Morgan Federal Building
2nd Floor, Attorney Conference Room
18 Greenville St.
Newnan, GA 30263

Appointments

Walk-ins are taken as time allows, but priority will generally be given to individuals who have scheduled an appointment. You can schedule an appointment by:

  1. completing a Request for Assistance Form* or
  2. by calling 678-208-7717. When calling, leave your name, number, email address, if available, and a brief description of your problem.

Complete the Request for Assistance Form>>

Note: Advice will not be given over the phone or by email.

What Volunteers at the PAP Center Do

  • We provide limited legal advice and information on bankruptcy related issues and questions in the Northern District of Georgia.
  • We answer questions about completing forms and preparing and filing court documents.
  • We provide referrals and other resource information.

What Volunteers at the PAP Center Do Not Do

  • We do not give advice on any non-bankruptcy related legal issues or cases.
  • We do not complete forms on behalf of any debtor or creditor.
  • We do not provide representation in court.
  • We do not file pleadings on behalf of any party.
  • We do not commit to an attorney-client relationship beyond the limited relationship that exists during the in-person consultation.

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BAPP for Students http://law.gsu.edu/practice-based-learning/bankruptcy-assistance-practice-program/bapp-for-students/ Fri, 17 Feb 2017 15:28:47 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?page_id=203925 Through the Bankruptcy Assistance & Practice Program, students work in teams of two to handle consumer bankruptcy cases, from the client interview through a Chapter 7 discharge of debts. Students are partnered with and work under the supervision of a local bankruptcy attorney. Students are responsible for every aspect of their cases, including client interviews, preparation of… more »

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Through the Bankruptcy Assistance & Practice Program, students work in teams of two to handle consumer bankruptcy cases, from the client interview through a Chapter 7 discharge of debts. Students are partnered with and work under the supervision of a local bankruptcy attorney. Students are responsible for every aspect of their cases, including client interviews, preparation of court filings, and, if necessary, attending hearings in the case.

BAPP students also work in the BAPP Pro Se Assistance Project Center, located in the Richard B. Russell Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Atlanta. In the PAP Center, students work with attorneys to provide free legal guidance through 20-minute consultations to individuals who are considering bankruptcy  or who are already representing themselves in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

In Class

The classroom component meets once each week throughout the semester, with area bankruptcy judges, trustees and attorneys as guest speakers. In class, we discuss issues that frequently arise in bankruptcy cases (both consumer and corporate cases) and also discuss and learn about things such as negotiation, mediation, dealing with difficult clients and opposing counsel and other issues attorneys address in practice.

Registration Requirements
  • Prerequisite/Co-requisite: LAW 7091 (Basic Bankruptcy) or 7176 (Security Interests and Liens)
  • Must have a cumulative 2.3 GPA
  • Registration is limited and subject to approval of the instructor; contact Professor Summer Chandler for approval to register.

Questions?

Contact Professor Summer Chandler at bchandler@gsu.edu.

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Bankruptcy Assistance & Practice Program http://law.gsu.edu/practice-based-learning/bankruptcy-assistance-practice-program/ Fri, 17 Feb 2017 15:28:34 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?page_id=203921 The Bankruptcy Assistance & Practice Program (“BAPP”) gives law students the opportunity to meet Atlanta area bankruptcy judges, attorneys and trustees, while the students work with clients on bankruptcy cases. In the BAPP, students help clients deal with challenges in bankruptcy.

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The Bankruptcy Assistance & Practice Program (“BAPP”) gives law students the opportunity to meet Atlanta area bankruptcy judges, attorneys and trustees, while the students work with clients on bankruptcy cases. In the BAPP, students help clients deal with challenges in bankruptcy.

For Students

In BAPP, students work in teams of two to handle consumer bankruptcy cases from the client interview through a Chapter 7 discharge of debts. Students are partnered with and work under the supervision of a local bankruptcy attorney. You are responsible for every aspect of your cases, including client interviews, preparation of court filings, and, if necessary, attending hearings in the case.

Students also work with the Pro Se Assistance Project to help provide information about the bankruptcy process and limited case-specific advice to individuals who are representing themselves in bankruptcy court.

Learn More 

For Clients

  • The Bankruptcy Assistance & Practice Program provides two client services.
    • The first is the Pro Se Assistance Project Center (“PAP Center”), in which volunteer bankruptcy attorneys and law students provide information about the bankruptcy process and provide limited case-specific advice, but they do not represent parties in court or file pleadings.
    • The second service offered by BAPP, for qualified clients, is legal representation, with law students working with a volunteer bankruptcy attorney to handle the court proceedings for clients.

Learn more 

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Wolf Lectures on HIV Exposure Statutes at Johns Hopkins University http://law.gsu.edu/2017/02/07/wolf-lectures-hiv-exposure-statutes-johns-hopkins-university/ Wed, 08 Feb 2017 01:35:36 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?p=202464 Leslie Wolf, professor and director of the Center for Law, Health & Society, recently presented, “Reconciling Criminal HIV Exposure Statutes and Public Health, as part of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics Seminar Series. The presentation was based on Wolf’s research and teaching on this topic, including her… more »

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Leslie Wolf

Leslie Wolf, professor of law and director of the Center for Law, Health & Society

Leslie Wolf, professor and director of the Center for Law, Health & Society, recently presented, “Reconciling Criminal HIV Exposure Statutes and Public Health, as part of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics Seminar Series. The presentation was based on Wolf’s research and teaching on this topic, including her chapter in the book, Criminalising Contagion, published by Cambridge University Press in 2016.

States began adopting laws that criminalized exposure to HIV in 1986, after the HIV test became available, Wolf said. The laws typically require only that a person intend to engage the activity that risks transmission of HIV, rather than an intention to harm or actual transmission.

“They also typically do not account for measures that reduce transmission risk,” Wolf said. “Accordingly, they often criminalize no or low risk behavior. This can reinforce misunderstanding and fears about HIV when prosecutions are reported in the media.”

Although HIV exposure statutes have been criticized, politicians and the public continue to support them. Wolf suggested that a 2014 Iowa case and the revised statute Iowa adopted in its wake demonstrates a way forward. “While it falls short of what HIV and public health advocates wanted, the Iowa statute takes into account current prevention science, which is a significant improvement.

In addition to the noontime lecture, Wolf met with the Hecht-Levi Fellows in bioethics, during which she discussed her research on the “web” of legal protections for genomic research. Wolf was a Greenwall Fellow in Bioethics and Health Policy at Hopkins from 1996-1998 and earned her master’s in public health in 1997.

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Chief Justice Cites Georgia State Law Professor in State of Judiciary Address http://law.gsu.edu/2017/01/25/chief-justice-cites-georgia-state-law-professor-state-judiciary-address/ Wed, 25 Jan 2017 21:43:36 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?p=200442 Addressing a special joint session of the Georgia Assembly on Jan. 25, Georgia’s new chief justice, P. Harris Hines, cited Georgia State University College of Law professor Clark Cunningham for his work in developing the state’s new law student practice rules adopted in 2015 by the Supreme… more »

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Addressing a special joint session of the Georgia Assembly on Jan. 25, Georgia’s new chief justice, P. Harris Hines, cited Georgia State University College of Law professor Clark Cunningham for his work in developing the state’s new law student practice rules adopted in 2015 by the Supreme Court of Georgia.

Clark Cunningham

Georgia’s new chief justice, P. Harris Hines, cited Georgia State University College of Law professor Clark Cunningham for his work in developing the state’s new law student practice rules adopted in 2015 by the Supreme Court of Georgia.

Making his inaugural State of the Judiciary Address, Chief Justice Hines spoke passionately about the need to expand access to justice.

“I am particularly proud of a program we have developed here in Georgia under the leadership of John Sammon of the Supreme Court’s Office of Bar Admissions and Professor Clark Cunningham …” Hines said.

Under the revised rules, Hines said more than 1,000 law students have been authorized to represent low- to moderate income Georgians who otherwise might not be able to afford a lawyer.

“It’s a win-win for both the law student and the clients, and it does not cost the clients or the state a dime,” Hines said.

The new practice rules allow supervised law students who have completed their first year to assist in representation of “any person who is unable financially to pay for the legal services of any attorney.”

Previous rules only authorized student practice by students who were in their final year and limited representation to “indigent persons,” thus excluding what Chief Justice Hines described as “working class citizens of quite modest means, the working poor … who simply cannot afford legal representation.”

The new rules originated in a proposal to expand student practice made by Cunningham, the W. Lee Burge Chair of Law and Ethics, as a member of the Access to Justice Committee of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism.

The commission approved his proposal and referred it to the Georgia Board of Board Examiners, which appointed a Student Practice Rule Committee comprised John Sammon, former State Bar president, as chair, and two former Superior Court judges, Thomas Cauthorn and Ralph Simpson.

After extensive review of student practice rules in all 50 states and multiple meetings with representatives of all five Georgia law schools, the committee recommended to the Bar Examiners a complete revision of student practice in Georgia in a set of rules intended to be a national model.

The Bar Examiners approved the draft rules and submitted them for consideration to the Supreme Court for adoption. Cunningham served as the reporter to the Student Practice Rule Committee and met repeatedly with both the Board of Bar Examiners and the members of the Georgia Supreme Court throughout this process.

Learn more about the new Student Practice Rules>>

2017 State of Judiciary Address>>

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Olmstead Disability Rights Clinic http://law.gsu.edu/practice-based-learning/olmstead-disability-rights-clinic/ Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:30:42 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?page_id=199664 The Olmstead Disability Rights Clinic is yearlong clinical course taught in partnership with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society’s Disability Integration Project. Students have the opportunity to advocate on behalf of children and adults with disabilities in special education cases, administrative proceedings, and potential federal litigation.

Olmstead is the most important U.S. Supreme Court decision for… more »

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The Olmstead Disability Rights Clinic is yearlong clinical course taught in partnership with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society’s Disability Integration Project. Students have the opportunity to advocate on behalf of children and adults with disabilities in special education cases, administrative proceedings, and potential federal litigation.

Olmstead is the most important U.S. Supreme Court decision for people with disabilities. Brought by the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, the decision held that individuals who need institution level of care services have the right to receive those services in the community.

Olmstead is a critical topic in Georgia because the state is carrying out a 2010 Justice Department settlement based on Olmstead that is transforming services for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities. The U.S. Justice Department filed a new lawsuit in August 2016 in Georgia based on Olmstead related to alternative schools for children with behavior related disabilities.

The classroom meetings will explore what is happening in Georgia, legal issues involving Olmstead, advocacy/litigation skills, and issues arising as students advocate for their clients.

Topics will include:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Advocating with State Agencies
  • Impact Litigation
  • Working with the Media
  • Trial and Negotiation Skills
  • School Advocacy
  • Civil Commitment

Students will average 10 hours a week of client representation and advocacy under the supervision of an Atlanta Legal Aid Society attorney. Office hours will take place at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society Decatur office and offsite.

For more information or an application, contact Talley Wells, clinic director, at 770-817-7527 or ctwells@atlantalegalaid.org.

Enrollment

The course is a full academic year (two-semester) clinic worth three credit hours each semester. It is pass/fail. Students must enroll in both the fall and spring semesters. Second- and third-year students may apply.

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Charles (J.D. ’18) Leads National Mindfulness Society’s Student Division http://law.gsu.edu/2017/01/10/charles-j-d-18-leads-national-mindfulness-societys-student-division/ Tue, 10 Jan 2017 15:45:13 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?p=198315 Austin Charles (J.D. ’18), with the help of his faculty advisor Charity Scott, the Catherine C. Henson Professor of Law, is the chair of the Mindfulness in Law Society student division and has taken the lead for developing mindfulness resources and networking among law students who desire to establish mindfulness programs at their… more »

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Austin Charles (J.D. '18) teaching a yoga class

Austin Charles (J.D. ’18) (center) leads the weekly yoga class for students, faculty and staff. The class is part of Georgia State Law’s mindfulness program.

Austin Charles (J.D. ’18), with the help of his faculty advisor Charity Scott, the Catherine C. Henson Professor of Law, is the chair of the Mindfulness in Law Society student division and has taken the lead for developing mindfulness resources and networking among law students who desire to establish mindfulness programs at their law schools.

Charity Scott

Charity Scott, Catherine Henson Professor of Law and founding director of the Center for Law, Health & Society

“Austin has put in an enormous amount of time and effort to launch the MILS student division,” Scott said. “He has established both an online databank of mindfulness resources and numerous personal connections with law students across the country to build mindfulness programs in law schools. He’s being looked to by law schools across the country to help with setting up these programs.”

The Mindfulness in Law Society (MILS) is a national organization designed to serve students, lawyers, law faculty members and judges. It aims to improve the mental well-being of legal professionals across the nation through mindfulness practices.

“At first, we thought it could be a good idea to find out what other schools were doing and learn from their programs,” Charles said. “As it turned out, we discovered that our program was one of the more active ones, so we decided to start connecting and networking these student groups so that we could help support one another and exchange ideas.”

Whether it’s assembling bylaws for new student organizations, directing prospective schools toward the MILS website for in-depth information, or giving advice on how to informally garner faculty and administrative support, Charles is connecting law students interested in developing their mindful practice and student organizations to these valuable resources.

A number of law schools have already signed up to join the MILS student division. Charles has benefitted from the experience of robust programs established at Miami Law and Missouri Law. The parent MILS organization is the brainchild of Missouri Law Professor Richard Reuben (J.D. ’85). Scott Rogers, lecturer in law and director of the Mindfulness in Law Program at University of Miami School of Law has published in the mindfulness field and spoke at Georgia State Law last year.

When Charles is not consulting with other law students about their interest levels and assessing their needs to build or build upon a program, he’s traveling to other schools or presenting at national conferences.

“A lot of what we’ve been working on are the relationships,” Charles said. “I went up to Columbia Law this fall and taught a mindfulness workshop for their students, and in turn, we’re having the student director of its program come instruct at one of our retreats.”

“I have been pleased that our faculty have reacted positively to establishing the mindfulness program for students at the College of Law,” Scott said. “The program benefits greatly from Dean [Steven J.] Kaminshine’s initial and enthusiastic support. He’s to be credited with taking the first step and allowing us to develop it.”

“From my personal experience talking to my professors about our student organization, the national society, and our yoga program, they’re happy we’re doing this,” Charles said. “Giving students the opportunity for more stress reduction is something that they get behind.”

While the College of Law has supported its mindfulness program, students elsewhere may face challenges from their faculty or administration.

“Faculty at other schools might say ‘this doesn’t have anything to do with academics, the students need to toughen up, this is going to slow students down’,” Scott said. “Mindfulness programs are relatively new in legal education. Some might not understand what the programs offer or be hesitant to embrace them until after they have learned more or seen the benefits of established programs.”
And that’s where Charles can help students at other law schools, as chair of the national MILS student division.

“The network of law schools we are creating is a tremendous resource for law students who are interested in creating mindfulness programs,” Charles said. “We all benefit from the experiences of each other.”

Learn more about the MILS student division>>

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Wolf Appointed to Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections http://law.gsu.edu/2017/01/03/wolf-appointed-secretarys-advisory-committee-human-research-protections/ Tue, 03 Jan 2017 20:13:38 +0000 http://law.gsu.edu/?p=198275 Leslie Wolf, Georgia State Law professor and director of the Center for Law, Health & Society, was appointed to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP) in December.

The committee provides expert advice and recommendations to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and… more »

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Leslie Wolf, Georgia State Law professor and director of the Center for Law, Health & Society, was appointed to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP) in December.

Leslie Wolf

Leslie Wolf, professor of law and director of the Center for Law, Health & Society

The committee provides expert advice and recommendations to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on issues pertaining to the protection of human subjects in research. Wolf will be one of 11 voting public members. SACHRP members are appointed to four-year terms.

“Having spent almost two decades working to protect human subjects while facilitating vital research, I am honored to serve as a SACHRP member and have the opportunity to inform federal policy on human subjects protections,” Wolf said.

Wolf has focused on ethical issues in her research. Before joining the Georgia State Law faculty in 2007, she was on faculty at the University of California San Francisco. As a member of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies Policy and Ethics Core, she provided advice to prevention scientists on how to protect human subjects while conducting cutting-edge HIV/AIDS research, often among vulnerable populations.

Wolf also served on the UCSF institutional review board, which reviews research involving human subjects before it begins to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects. She also served on the UCSF embryonic stem cell review committee.

Wolf’s research has tackled a number of human research issues. Her research on Certificates of Confidentiality, a legal tool that facilities the conduct of important, but sensitive research, has established her as the leading expert on them. She presented her research team’s findings on certificates to SACHRP, which later released recommendations on improving confidentiality protections.

Wolf also presented her research findings on IRB conflicts of interest to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections. She is widely known for her work on research involving stored biological specimens.

Since coming to Georgia State, Wolf has regularly taught a course on human subjects research. She was recently appointed as an education liaison for the Georgia State Human Research Protections Program.

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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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