Friday, May 27, 2016

Liz Dervan ’17

I decided to attend Yale for two main reasons, the first one having to do with its size. I wanted to be part of a community where students knew each other’s names and professors worked with students, and we worked together to educate one another and learn from one another. The second reason was really that I thought this was a place where students are taught to think: How can I use law and policy to give back? Where can I be helpful? And how can I think creatively about how to be helpful? I think this is a really special place because of that.

I’ve actually, since the spring of my first year, I’ve been working with the Veterans Legal Services Clinic, advocating on behalf of veterans who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or experienced discrimination and harassment during their service. We file claims on behalf of individual clients and also file class action lawsuits and lobby with Congress. It’s a really incredible way for students to get real legal experience while also doing really important work for people. Just this past week, I was actually in D.C. lobbying on behalf of veterans who, because of the PTSD and discharge status, can’t access disability benefits or healthcare or education. Along with two other women at the Law School, we went down and talked to staffers in the Senate and the House about how to improve the process by which veterans can get access to these critical benefits.

I’m currently the co-director of the Yale Health Law and Policy Society, which is the main student-run health law group here. I’ve also been an executive editor with the health law journal, and I’m currently also on the board with Law Students for Reproductive Justice. And then also most recently the new Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy. Professor Abbe Gluck worked tirelessly to open the Center in the fall. It’s just been a huge success. It gives students and faculty the space to write papers, host conferences, talk about issues ranging from Medicaid to cancer to personalized medicine and hospital consolidation.

A student perspective on health law and clinics at Yale Law School.