Yale Law School offers many ongoing projects relating to health care, health disparities, policy, and disabilities through clinical offerings as well as one of the best experiential learning programs in the country. Learn more below.

Medical-Legal Partnerships

The medical-legal partnership (MLP) model combines health and legal services at a single site of care to address social determinants of health and provide holistic care. YLS students who participate in an MLP meet with patients at local health clinics to help address legal needs like access to government programs, housing, employment, immigration, and family law matters. The Solomon Center coordinates student participation in eight MLPs, working across the continuum of care and life experiences: the Haven MLP, Palliative Care MLP, Pediatric Care MLP, Pediatric Gender MLP, Transitions MLP, Veterans MLP, Geriatric MLP, Oncology MLP. Several of these MLPs partner with legal service organizations in the area, including New Haven Legal Assistance Association, the Center for Children’s Advocacy, and Connecticut Veterans Legal Center.

Haven MLP
The Haven MLP is a partnership with HAVEN, a free clinic operated by Yale medical students every Saturday for uninsured patients, the great majority of whom are also undocumented immigrants. Law student volunteers work onsite at the clinic and meet directly with patients to conduct legal screenings.  Volunteers provide advice, referrals, or representation, depending on the situation.  Common legal issues include immigration, wage theft, landlord/tenant concerns, and domestic violence. Law students also provide legal training to other Haven volunteers and collaborate with community organizations on campaigns for structural change.

Geriatric MLP
The Geriatric MLP targets legal services to the elderly in collaboration with medical providers, elder service organizations, and elder justice policy advocates. Doctor Richard Marottoli of the Adler Clinic and Doctor James Lai, the Associate Chief of Clinical Affairs for Geriatric Affairs at the Yale School of Medicine, serve as the medical partners for the clinic, screening their patients for social legal needs and refer them to this MLP. The major health-harming legal issues the MLP aims to address are elder abuse, public benefits, housing conditions, and estate planning.

Palliative Care MLP
The Palliative Care MLP works with NHLAA and a pro bono lawyer to provide civil legal services to palliative care and cancer patients at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH). Students in the Palliative Care MLP conduct intake interviews with clients and draft desired documents, such as wills, power-of-attorney agreements, and advanced health care directives. Depending on patients’ needs, students may also work on real-estate transactions and guardianship issues.

Oncology MLP
The Oncology MLP works with breast cancer patients at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven Hospital.  Students in the Oncology MLP work with social workers and nurses to screen patients for legal needs.  This MLP addresses a wide range of legal issues, including employment, public benefits, immigration, and housing.

Pediatric Care MLP
In 2013, the Center for Children’s Advocacy (CCA) established an MLP in the pediatric primary care center at Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH), focusing on issues of childhood poverty and access to services. One student each semester participates in this MLP and works directly with a CCA attorney, Alice Rosenthal. Students engage in both direct client services—working with physicians in the clinic to identify patient-specific and systemic issues, as well as policy research and advocacy.

Transitions MLP
The Transitions MLP is based in the Transitions Clinic in the adult primary care center at Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) that serves those returning home from prison. Law students screen patients for health-harming legal needs, train residents, patients, and other medical providers on the rights of patients, and participate in community campaigns for structural change.

Veterans MLP
Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) operates an MLP at VA Connecticut’s Errera Community Care Center (ECCC). Students work directly with the attorneys at CVLC to provide direct client services and to engage in research and advocacy on relevant policy issues.

MLP Symposium and Special Issue of the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law & Ethics

On March 3, 2017, the Solomon Center hosted a symposium on medical-legal partnerships: Building an Academic Agenda to Enhance MLP Practice. The articles emerging from this symposium were published in a special issue of the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics: Symposium, "Medical Legal Partnerships" 17 Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law & Ethics 251 (2017):

Susanna D. Evarts and Nathan Guevremont (’18), “Introduction to the Medical-Legal Partnership Symposium Issue,” 17 Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics 251 (2017).

Yael Cannon, “A Mental Health Checkup for Children at the Doctor's Office: Lessons from the Medical-Legal Partnership Movement to Fulfill Medicaid's Promise,” 17 Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics 253 (2017).

Tamar Ezer, “Medical-Legal Partnerships with Communities: Legal Empowerment to Transform Care,” 17 Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics 309 (2017).

Jesselyn Friley, “Ethics of Evidence: Health Care Professionals in Public Benefits and Immigration Proceedings,” 17 Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics 327 (2017).

Joel Teitelbaum and Ellen Lawton, “The Roots and Branches of the Medical-Legal Partnership Approach to Health: From Collegiality to Civil Rights to Health Equity,” Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics 343 (2017).

Research

The Solomon Center is emperically evaluating its MLPs to contribute to a critical gap in the legal and biomedical scholarly literature by completing an interdisciplinary, quantitative study. The Solomon Center is seeking to hire an epidemiologist/biostatistcian to lead this work, information on the position and how to apply can be found here.

Publications & News

Emily Rock '14 and James Bhandary-Alexander. "Congress Should Act to Fund Medical-Legal Partnerships," Bill of Health (Sep. 2021)

Emily Benfer, James Bhandary-Alexander, Yael Cannon, Medha Makhlouf, Tomar Pierson-Brown, "Setting the Health Justice Agenda: Addressing Health Inequity & Injustice in the Post-Pandemic Clinic," Clinical Law Review (July 15, 2021)

Emily A. Benfer, Abbe R. Gluck '00, and Katherine L. Kraschel, "Medical-Legal Partnership: Lessons from Five Diverse MLPs in New Haven, Connecticut," 46 The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 02 (Oct. 2018).

Wack ’18 on Interprofessional Student Hotspotting Collaborative, Yale Law School News (Apr. 2018).

Solomon Center Submits Comments to HHS, Yale Law School News (Aug. 2017).

Finding a Cure through the Law, Yale Law School News (June 2017).

Sharon Pope Receives Hartford County Bar Association President’s Award for Excellence (May 2017).

Jingyi Cui, Law Symposium Focuses on Medical-Legal Partnerships, Yale Daily News (Mar. 2017).

Mark Hanin (YLS 2017), The Architecture of Medical-Legal Partnerships (Nov. 2015).

Yale-New Haven Hospital General Counsel Externship

Externs have the opportunity to design an externship according to their personal interests and the needs of the YNHH General Counsel team. Past externs have worked on projects as diverse as conducting contract review to drafting memoranda examining the impact of federal policy proposals for undocumented patients in the hospital system to contributing to amicus briefs.

 

National Academy of Social Insurance Fellowship

The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) Fellowship at Yale Law School provides an opportunity for Yale Law students to explore contemporary legal issues involving the evolution of social insurance in a rapidly changing economy. Individuals selected as fellows will have broad latitude to work with legal scholars affiliated with NASI from around the country to develop policy solutions of relevance state and national policymakers examining the economic risks facing workers and their families.

NASI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC. Founded in 1986, the Academy is comprised of the nation¹s leading experts on social insurance. The Academy's mission is to advance solutions to challenges facing the nation by increasing public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security. Social insurance encompasses broad-based systems that help workers and their families pool risks to avoid loss of income due to retirement, death, disability, or unemployment, and to ensure access to health care.

Social insurance is an interdisciplinary field. The selected NASI Fellow will have the opportunity to establish relationships and gain invaluable insights from a diverse network of policy analysts, advisors, and researchers; political scientists, economists, and academics from other related disciplines; actuaries; congressional staff; business and industry leaders; labor union members; financial advisors; program administrators; policy advocates and grassroots organization leaders. In addition, Academy staff will provide guidance and support through the course of the fellowship.

 

The Global Health Justice Practicum

The GHJP leads a clinical course, the Global Health Justice Practicum, which allows Yale Law students to work with Public Health students and others on practical projects designed to advance health justice. Recent projects had students travelling to Southern Africa to develop a policy paper on comparative approaches to compensate miners for the health consequences of mining, working with groups such as Doctors Without Borders on access to medicines issues, working with a Congressional office to help shape domestic legislation promoting women’s health in sub- Saharan Africa, and working with students in another clinic on a project addressing UN accountability for introducing cholera to Haiti. Projects can also have a domestic focus, such as a project on the implications of free speech cases on the FDA’s regulatory structure, and the quality of our evidence base for pharmaceuticals.

 

Clinics

Many of the Law School’s clinics have ongoing projects related to health care, health disparities, health policy, and disabilities, including the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, Veterans Legal Services Clinic, Legislative Advocacy Clinic, Housing Clinic, Immigration Legal Services, and Legal Assistance Re-entry Clinic.