Student FAQs

Sara Warren relaxes after a court hearing.

       Sara Warren relaxes after a court hearing.


 The Elder Law Clinic Course

Upper level students get training in the general civil practice of law with an emphasis on the growing field of elder law.  Students are under the supervision of Prof. Kate Mewhinney, a certified elder law attorney who has served as the director of the clinic since 1991.  Students represent clients in a range of matters, including wills, guardianship, fraud, and other concerns.  They also have opportunities to participate in the Memory Assessment Clinic at the medical school and have a class taught by a member of the medical school faculty.  See below for FAQs.

The Elder Law Clinic helps students:

  • understand the substantive laws affecting the elderly, such as guardianship and Medicaid
  • improve their interviewing, counseling and writing skills
  • increase their appreciation of the unmet need for legal assistance
  • identify and handle professional ethical issues

The Clinic gives students direct experience advocating for their clients in many arenas, such as:

  • negotiating with agencies such as the Department of Social Services
  • handling some litigation, allowing them to argue civil motion hearings and to draft and answer discovery
  • participating in mediation of family disputes and consumer issues
  • preparing briefs and persuasive letters to decision-makers in administrative hearings

Here’s what students have said on recent course evaluations:

  • I enjoyed the course. Very practical information and presentation. Good hands-on teaching technique. Excellent modeling by instructor. Thank you!
  • One of the most valuable experiences I have had in law school. Highly recommend it. Great program. Professor Mewhinney is extremely knowledgeable.
  • I really enjoyed this class as a whole. It gave us a good look into what the day-to-day practice of law will be like once we graduate. Everyone at the clinic was so nice, and I really enjoyed getting to know them.
  • She is an excellent professor. The clinic works so well because of her years of experience. Everything is so organized and the student takes away so much about issues for the elderly and small firm practice. The feedback is also outstanding. I really loved the fact that we learn a diverse array of subject matters.
  • I really enjoyed the clinic. The professor was very knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly. At the beginning it felt overwhelming, but there probably is no way around that.
  • This is the greatest experience I have had in law school. Professor Mewhinney is not only wonderful to learn from, but she is someone who I really admire as a professional. I have a much better understanding about how a law firm is run. Working with clients has also been a great experience. I would recommend this class to everyone.

Also see the Clinic’s client reviews.