Elder & Health Law Clinic Goal and Structure

The Elder & Health Law Clinic provides students with civil practice skills in a growing area of area of legal specialization. Students will learn complicated substantive state and federal law, as well as engage in a high level of ethical competence. Many cases involve an interdisciplinary approach to lawyering. In furtherance of this, students engage in joint classes with UC Davis Medical students to explore common areas of practice. Students also interact with Adult Protective Services Social workers to staff cases and otherwise provide legal representation for the “whole” client.

Under attorney supervision, students interview and counsel clients, conduct factual investigation and legal research, develop case theories and strategies, manage case files, draft documents, engage in civil discovery and depositions, negotiate, and present or defend cases in superior court and before administrative agencies. Students also have the opportunity to represent and counsel clients in transactional matters concerning planning for death, incapacity and a variety of other issues. Students join UCD Medical, Nursing, and Social Work students in interdisciplinary classes addressing legal and ethical issues common to both professions Priority cases include: Elder Financial Abuse Litigation; Probate and Probate Litigation; Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and Income Security Issues; Medicare, MediCal, In-Home Supportive Services and Health Access Issues; Substitute Decision-Making such as Powers of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directives, Trusts; Debtor-Creditor, Consumer Protection; and Wills, Trusts, and Small Estate Planning

Unit Credit and Limit on Enrollment

This is a one-semester clinic, offered in both fall and spring, for three graded units, which includes a 90-minute weekly seminar. Students are required to engage in 120 hours of client representation and counseling. Students are encouraged to enroll for two semesters to fulfill their experiential learning requirement and to gain additional skills and work on cases with more complexity. Enrollment in the Elder & Health Law Clinic is limited to twelve students. Priority is given to graduating students. The Clinic is located in the McGeorge Community Legal Services building at 2925 34th St., Sacramento, CA 95817, on the campus of McGeorge School of Law.

Clinic Student Testimonial

My clinic experience provided me with real life situations and not the typical classroom environment. I interviewed clients, conducted factual investigation and legal research for my cases, drafted legal documents and pleadings, and represented clients at hearings. I was able to see how legal issues play out and are resolved in the real world, and as a result I am a better prepared attorney. — Cheryl Robertson '10, Litigation Attorney at Girardi & Keese

Prerequisites for Enrollment and Fees

A written application is required. Concurrent or prior enrollment in the Elder Law and Social Policy course. Students must apply for certification under The State Bar of California's Practical Training of Law Students (PTLS) program. To be eligible for certification, a student must be enrolled in, or have successfully completed Evidence and Civil Procedure. Students must pay to the State Bar the student registration fee and certified law student fee.


Melissa Brown, Clinical Professor of Law and the co-author of Advising the Elderly and Disabled Client, is the supervising attorney. She has decades of private practice experience in a small firm representing elderly, injured and disabled clients, which includes legislative and appellate advocacy. Staff attorney Lacey Mickleburgh provides additional student supervision and support. Contact information: mbrown1@pacific.edu; lmickleburgh@pacific.edu.

Why This Clinic is Valuable

The Elder and Health Law Clinic is an opportunity to do what lawyers do and advance the cause of social justice. Students to engage in legal counseling, negotiation, drafting documents, and management of their own cases. Court appearances allow real life experience with attorneys, judges, and witnesses.


Melissa Brown, Professor