Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Christine Monahan ’16

I think one thing that’s really special about a lot of the students that I’ve met at Yale is what they are doing outside of the law school, and it amazes me just because there’s a lot of work here. Classes keep you busy and all of the events around school keep you busy, but some of my classmates they’re leading social movements, like they’re leading the charge around campus sexual assaults and Title IX or are very involved in Black Lives Matter. Some of them are running political campaigns for themselves or for someone else. Others have written books. They were authors coming in, and they continue to publish while they are actually in school, which just amazes me. Some are parents with families and young kids and the amount of time that that must take up, and they continue to do all of this and still come to class and show up and be just as prepared as everyone else.

I’ve been in the Mortgage Foreclosure Litigation Clinic here since the fall of my second year. With the Mortgage Foreclosure Clinic, as the name suggests, we represent homeowners who are facing foreclosure by banks. And we help them both stay in their home through defensive cases both in the court itself through litigation as well as through a mediation program, where you work with the bank and try to work out a modification program that will change the terms of a family’s loans so that they can stay there and end the foreclosure action itself. We also help bring affirmative actions against the bank where there’s been misconduct either when the loan was originated or just in the foreclosure process itself or any other intervening period, where maybe the bank’s conduct both brought stress on the families or it led up to more costs being added on that the family was being demanded to pay even though it really was no fault of their own. With the clinic I was able to argue a case in my second semester before the judge defending one of these affirmative actions. And we were successful. I think the best part, you know, there’s experience just being in a courtroom, talking before a judge, but really what made it for me was then being able to tell our client, we won, and we’re going to help keep you in your home. And we’re going to be able to reduce what you pay, maybe. And just seeing that that made a real difference for her and being able to do that as a law student has been really great.

The Yale Health Law and Policy Society, which I was director of last year, and it’s like the leading health law student group on campus. We put together a lot of events as well as conferences each year that I have been here and it’s been expanding a lot. New opportunities arise each year for students, which has been exciting. I’ve also been involved in the Global Health Justice Practicum, which is an interdisciplinary clinic, so it’s law students working with medical students and business students and others. We each have a project that we’re supposed to work on during the semester. We also often continue it on our own out of our own interest after the semester ends. You’re looking at—you have a partner organization who is facing some problem, and they need extra legal research or medical research and just, like, thinking about this from a comprehensive manner that combines interest in public health as well as the legal side of things. We were looking at access to Hepatitis C drugs and coming up with recommendations for how we could make these affordable so more people can get them right now where it’s being rationed in the United States and globally today.

A student perspective on health law and the Mortgage Foreclosure Litigation Clinic.