January 1, 2010
The television talk show Law & Society featured Professor Sylvia Caley, Director of HeLP and Co-Associate Director of the HeLP Legal Services Clinic, in a 30-minute interview in January. Law & Society focuses on legal issues that affect viewers in all communities. Attorney Angie Wright-Rheaves hosts the show, which airs on the Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters station.
Professor Caley spoke about the focus and purpose of the partnership, saying that the driving idea behind HeLP is to improve low-income children's health and well-being by providing legal assistance that can broadly be defined as poverty law. Ms. Wright-Rheaves pointed out, "That really is an underserved part of the community - the working poor." Professor Caley agreed and explained, "We've developed a lot of community resources because of the types of questions that families have come to us with over the years. We're always looking for new resources and print a resource guide that we give to families that they may find helpful at the time or even down the road."
Regarding the advocacy component of the partnership, Professor Caley explained that while legal issues can be handled individually, certain issues benefit from a more systemic approach. She said that one goal of a class she teaches called Health Legislation and Advocacy "is exposing law and other graduate students to the fact that most of our law now comes through the legislative process and we need to pay attention to and understand that process."
The host recalled recently speaking with a legislator who said that a small number of the current state legislators are lawyers. This can result in laws being made, as Ms. Wright-Rheaves expressed, "by people who intend to do the right thing" but perhaps do not know the legal mechanism. Professor Caley and Ms. Wright-Rheaves agreed that "it's good to have lawyers to help with the process and understand what the actual implications are."
To watch the Law & Society interview with Professor Caley, click here.