LAW 841

Client-Centered Elder Law

This course grounds important elder law subjects in an experiential learning context. Each week students will meet at the Law School for three hours to discuss topics in elder law, including those particularly relevant to field placements available through Bet Tzedek Legal Services. The course includes simulation exercises designed to develop client interviewing and client counseling skills. Both of those skills are useful generally, and they are particularly necessary for the field placement opportunities in the newly established Bet Tzedek Elder Abuse Restraining Order Self-Help Clinic (“EARO Clinic”) or the Bet Tzedek Conservatorship Clinic (“Conservatorship Clinic”). Students taking the course for four units of credit will go to one of those field placements on one Monday or Thursday morning each week. Participating in the EARO Self-Help Clinic involves assisting self-represented litigants to understand and fill out elder abuse restraining order (EARO) petitions, draft declarations, explain the EARO process, give appropriate referrals to other social/legal services, and answer any questions. Students participating in the Conservatorship Clinic do similar work in the context of helping those seeking conservatorship for elders or developmentally disabled individuals. The three-unit component of the course includes participation in client interviewing and client counseling simulation exercises, short written assignments, short oral presentations, and a final exam. The additional one-unit component requires weekly entries in two different journals. One journal captures basic information about the client matters in which the student was involved. The information in that journal may be shared with Bet Tzedek. The second journal provides an opportunity for reflection on assigned topics and for self-reflection on experiences serving clients at one of the Bet Tzedek field placements. Attendance and participation are required for both the three-unit and four-unit components and constitute part of the grade for the course.

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