The Health Rights Clinic is a medical legal partnership operated in collaboration with the UM Miller School of Medicine. Students participating in the Health Rights Clinic represent multiple clients in different legal matters related to health. Under the guidance of Director JoNel Newman, Associate Director Melissa Swain, and Teaching Fellow Suzanne Villano, clinic students spend the academic year representing low income patients of the Veteran's Administration, South Florida Aids Network, Jackson Hospital and other medical partners.
Law students function as the client's primary advocate and conduct client intakes/ interviews, conduct legal research, file legal pleadings and legal documents, develop case strategies and theories, and provide representation in administrative hearings and court.
Representation is focused on the following priority areas:
Social Security/Public Benefits – Students provide legal services in Social Security and other public benefits cases. Students represent clients obtaining Medicaid and other insurance. Many students file appeals and/or appear in federal administrative court.
Advanced Directives – Students draft advance directives such as wills, living wills, health care surrogacy, pre-need guardianships and guardianships.
Immigration – Students represent health impaired clients in immigration related matters. Specifically, students file applications and regularly appear before the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of our clients seeking U.S. Citizenship or Legal Permanent Residency.
Veterans Benefits – Students supervised by faculty work with doctors, medical residents, social workers and attorneys to advocate for veteran's legal rights in light of medical scenarios. The Health Rights Clinic presently provides legal services on-site to veterans receiving health care at the Miami Veteran Administration Medical Center (VAMC). Read More.
Collaborate directly with medical professionals – UM Miller School of Medicine medical students, fellows, residents and psychiatrists – to evaluate cases and obtain evidence for clients.
Experience cross-training with medical residents in each other's disciplines – physicians teach at the law school and law students teach at the medical school; also medical students can take this clinic as a clinical rotation offering.
Work together as legal-medical team to review and examine relevant medical records, charts and (for example, termination of life prolonging treatments or loss of mental capacity).
Students develop lawyering skills as they conduct all aspects of the client's case including:
JoNel Newman, Esq. is the Director of Heath Rights Clinic and a Professor at Miami Law.
Watch video of Professor Newman where she discusses the clinic.
The Health Rights Clinic presently provides legal services on-site to veterans receiving health care at the Miami Veteran Administration Medical Center (VAMC). Read More.
WSVN-TV News 7- Channel 7 featured the work our clinic is doing at Miami's VA Hospital.
Miami Herald - Dual Medical-Law Degree to Provide 'Great Opportunity' for Deep Understanding of Both Fields Clinic Joins Miller School of Medicine in National Partnership
View more photos of our clinic in action on Flickr.
See full In the News listing.
Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers (ETL)
Our Clinic has been recognized by ETL - an organization dedicated to facilitating innovation and reform in legal education. Read More.
ETL features the Health Rights Clinic in this video on its homepage.
National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership (NCMLP)
NCMLP is a project of the George Washington University School of Public Health and Public Health Services' Department of Health Policy. They have recognized our clinic's medical-legal partnership. Read More.
Access to Justice Clinical Course Project (A2J Clinic Project)
Our clinic is one of 6 law school clinics chosen to participate in and create a course kit as part of this project. Read More.
Patricia Elizee, JD '10, and Larisa Hernandez, JD '09 participated in the Health Rights Clinic and have opened their own firm specializing in areas of the law they practiced while in our clinic. www.elizeehernandez.com