Elder Law Field Placement Program
Students in the Elder Law Field Placement work under the supervision of attorneys from Kansas Legal Services.
Students assist seniors with a variety of legal issues, including income maintenance, access to health care, housing and consumer protection. Students also interact with clients and prepare documents, such as durable powers of attorney, powers of attorney for health care decisions and living wills.
Elder Law Field Placement Resources
Students are eligible to apply for the Elder Law Field Placement Program after successful completion of their first year of law school. Students earn 3 credit hours per semester and can participate in either the fall or spring semester. Students can also choose to participate for both semesters.
Student Testimonial: 'I got to work on so many different legal issues'
Peyton Weatherbie, L'23
From her first day as an elder law extern with Kansas Legal Services, third-year law student Peyton Weatherbie had the chance to interact with applicants and build her legal skill set. Weatherbie participated in the externship as part of the Elder Law Field Placement Program at the University of Kansas School of Law in fall 2021 and spring 2022.
“I got to work on so many different legal issues. I worked on estate planning issues, housing issues, elder divorce, collections, and everything in between,” Weatherbie said. “The Elder Law Field Placement has something for everyone regardless of legal interests.”
Weatherbie shared her experience with the Elder Law Field Placement for a Q&A.
What type of work did you do through the field placement?
From the first day, you interact with applicants, gathering information about their legal issues, and relaying the issue with your supervising attorney. From there, you will build advice or a solution for the applicant and then relay it back to them in a clear way.
You will get to draft documents like powers of attorney, living wills, transfer on death deeds, last wills and testaments, valid settlement agreements, and anything in between. You will attend client meetings, document signings, Protection from Abuse proceedings, and so much more. You will also get to participate in community outreach events for seniors where you will prepare estate documents on the spot. You may also get the chance to work on improving documents that will be sent to applicants and clients.
I got to work on so many different legal issues. I worked on estate planning issues, housing issues, elder divorce, collections, and everything in between. The Elder Law Field Placement has something for everyone regardless of legal interests.
What would you say to law students considering enrolling in the Elder Law Field Placement?
Take the jump and do it. I would recommend this to anyone, regardless of interest, litigation or transactional. You will learn so much more than you will ever learn in a classroom about the practice of law. You will learn to think quick on your feet, manage a large and varying caseload, how to communicate efficiently and effectively, how to relay legal advice and ask clarifying questions. Most importantly, you will learn how to interact with people at their most vulnerable, in a compassionate, professional and intelligent way. You will learn how to laugh with clients, snag a tissue during a tough moment, talk people through the losses, and celebrate the legal victories.
If you want to learn, and I mean really learn what it takes to be a lawyer, spend just one semester in the Elder Law Field Placement at Kansas Legal Services.
Executive Director, Kansas Legal Services