Clinical Professor Kate Mewhinney

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Sharon Ukodie helps Wake Forest faculty and staff with advance directives.

Gave several presentations this spring:

  • The N.C. Guardianship Association on “Guardianship and Elder Exploitation:  New Developments.”The Triad Health Project, on “LGBT Rights in Health Care Settings.”
  • Queens University Estate Planning Day, on “Cognitive Impairments:  Ready or Not, Here They Come,” with Charles Edwards, II, M.D.
  • 11th Annual Erik Lie-Nielsen Geriatrics Symposium, on “Advance Directives:  Medical, Legal and Ethical Dimensions.”

Was on the planning committee for the “Aging Re-Imagined Symposium” at Wake Forest University.  This multidisciplinary event was attended by over two hundred people and took place over a two-day period.

Was a volunteer attorney for NCBA 4All, the free “call-a-lawyer day” put on by the N.C. Bar Association.

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Community Service from the Clinic to the Courtroom

Jenna Best

Empathy and advice from Jenna Coogle.

  • “Even though the things we were discussing were  emotional for me, Alec Roberson was very patient and guided me through the necessary papers.”
  • Tim Lewis was friendly and professional.  He will be a good lawyer…. one that is not a crook.”
  • “I particularly liked how well Brandy Davis explained every procedure in detail.  Thank you very much for your service, Wake Forest!”
  • Marcus Fields was caring and understanding.  If there was something he was not sure about, he asked someone else.  I really appreciate the Elder Law Clinic and Wake Forest University for helping the community.  A real class act and standard of excellence!”
  • “Thank you to Jenna Coogle for answering all my questions and making everything so clear.  I never felt rushed.”
  • Crissy Dixon was friendly and down-to-earth.  She was so good about accommodating my need for her to speak to me slowly.  She also knew the law well and could explain things clearly.  Your program is wonderful!”

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Alec w Rick Pender

Alec Roberson at a guardianship hearing with the Forsyth Co. Assistant Clerk of Court Rick Pender.

The Medical Side

Geriatrics & Palliative care

Mark Corbett, MD

A few students were able to observe the medical side of elder law when they visited the Kate B. Reynolds Hospice home.

They toured the facility and learned from Dr. Mark Corbett about the challenges of end-of-life care and how doctors rely on the law to navigate many of those challenges.  Seeing the medical side helped the students understand the importance of advance care planning.

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Brandy Davis shares legal advice.

Jenna on the Job


Emily Morris explains her client’s decisions to the family.

Having an undergraduate degree in finance is one reason that Jenna Coogle was assigned a dispute with a credit union.  Her client had been the victim of an internet scam and the credit union refused to use consumer protection rules to address the situation.

Jenna researched the “red flag rule,” which puts some responsibility on the financial institution to look out for scams, and filed a complaint for her client with the state’s Credit Union Division.

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Court Advocacy

Rebecca-best-for-websiteCreative advocacy by Brandy Davis helped her client.  The man had had a brain aneurysm many years ago and was cared for at home by his siblings.

But due to their own health problems, his siblings could no longer handle this responsibility.  They filed a court action to have their brother declared incompetent.  Brandy presented a video at the court hearing, showing the man in his home.  She persuaded the court to enter a limited guardianship, retaining rights for the man despite having a guardian appointed.

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The Ping-Pong Parent

Tim Lewis

A home visit from Tim Lewis.

As we age, our adult children—if we are lucky—get more involved in our lives.  But sometimes this doesn’t work well.

As elder law attorneys, our job is to assist the older adult and only involve the children if the client wants us to.  We are also careful about undue influence or exploitation.

Alec Roberson faced such a situation.  His client wrote, “My wife passed and my daughter and her husband were taking over me.  But when I met with Alec in the clinic, he listened to me and backed me against them.  He was very nice and saw my daughter was not there to help me like my other children.  She was just for herself!”

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Illustrious Alumni

E clinic alumni spring 2016 CLE (4)

Elder Law Clinic alumni met at the NCBA 20th Annual Elder and Special Needs Law Symposium in Pinehurst, NC. From left: Liz Osborne Lawrence (’11), David Inabinett (’96), Nora Ryan (’11), Professor Kate Mewhinney, David McLean (’99), Aimee Smith (’02), Jonathan Williams (’11), Jessica Bell (’05), Kathleen R. Rodberg (’12), Mark Edwards (’97), Kim Gossage (’98), Anne Harris (’97), Natalie P. Miller (’04)

Caroline Knox (’00) has become president of the Van Winkle Law Firm, which has over 35 attorneys, and offices in Asheville, Charlotte and Hendersonville.

Natalie P. Miller (’04) has been elected to serve as the 2016-17 Chair of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section of the N.C. Bar Association, which has about 500 members.

Liz Osborne Lawrence (’11) has opened a firm focused on elder law, estate planning and special needs planning.  Her office is in Decatur, GA.

Jasmine Pitt (’15) joined the Winston-Salem firm of Bennett & Guthrie, where one of her cases involves a challenge to a will.  She writes, “I learned in the Clinic to thoroughly document all meetings and interactions with clients to prevent disputes down the road and to support any decisions I make.  Even outside of the elder law environment, the drafting and analysis skills I developed in the Clinic have served me well.”

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Clinic co-sponsors LGBT health care rights program with Sticht Center


On April 1, 2016, the Elder Law Clinic and the WFBMC Sticht Center on Aging co-sponsored a free film screening of Gen Silent, a documentary that explores that challenges often faced by LGBT seniors.  After the film, attendees participated in a discussion of LGBT health care issues with Prof. Kate Mewhinney and Dr. Kaycee Sink.

Students connect with alumni at NCBA Elder Law Symposium

Several of our current Elder Law Clinic students had the opportunity to attend the NCBA 20th Annual Elder and Special Needs Law Symposium in Pinehurst, NC.  They heard from skilled practitioners and national experts who presented on the most pressing issues facing seniors and special needs clients.  The students also had the opportunity to meet several Elder Law Clinic alumni who are now practicing elder law attorneys.

E clinic CLE with students (3)

From Left: Student Alec Roberson (’16)Liz Osborne Lawrence (Decatur, GA); Nora Ryan (Winston Salem, NC); Student Marcus Fields (’16); Professor Kate Mewhinney; David Inabinett (Lexington, NC); Student Brandy Davis (’16); David McLean (Greensboro, NC); Aimee Smith (Winston Salem, NC); Jonathan Williams (Durham, NC); Jessica Bell (Winston Salem, NC); Kathleen R. Rodberg (Asheville, NC); Mark Edwards (Nashville, NC); Kim Gossage (Matthews, NC); Anne Harris (Greensboro, NC); Natalie Miller (Mooresville, NC); Student Emily Morris (’16)

Interested in hiring one of our talented graduates?  Contact Professor Kate Mewhinney.

Free Film Screening at Sticht Center on April 1

gen silent movie poster

Friday, April 1, 2016Free Film Screening/Lunch & Learn

 Learn about the challenges LGBT seniors face in health care settings.  The film “Gen Silent” will be followed by an optional discussion with Kate Mewhinney, JD, and Kaycee Sink, MD.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Sticht Center Auditorium, 12:00 – 1:00 pm.

Free lunch provided for those who register in advance.

Register online at, call (336) 758-5061, or email