Medical-Legal Partnership Field Placement
In the Medical-Legal Partnership Field Placement Program, the School of Law collaborates with two separate health systems — the University of Kansas Health Systems (including the University of Kansas Hospital) and Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Students participating in the MLP provide free legal assistance to low-income patients of its medical partners, under the supervision of experienced MLP staff. Students are given the opportunity to conduct intake interviews, develop case strategies, conduct legal research, prepare legal documents, and provide representation in administrative hearings and court (if eligible for a Rule 719 license).
Learn more about the medical-legal partnership model in this New York Times article:
When poverty makes you sick, a lawyer can be the cure
Advocating for health
Jaime Whitt, L'15
As a student seeking a dual degree in law and health services administration, Jaime Whitt identified the Medical-Legal Partnership as an opportunity to bridge her interests while making a difference in the lives of clients. She was not disappointed. Whitt advocated for an elderly patient in public housing whose apartment was very cold. Instead of addressing the problem head on, the patient’s landlord had advised her to buy space heaters and run her oven with the door open. “In situations like that, we as attorneys can send a letter or pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey, you can’t do this. We will go to bat for this client if we have to, but it really shouldn’t be necessary,’” said Whitt, L'15. “Now physicians can feel more confident sending that patient back home.”
Whitt sees great value in the medical-legal partnership model, which takes a preventative approach to pinpointing potential legal barriers to health and resolving those issues before they escalate into full-fledged legal problems and health emergencies. “If you can head off those problems at the pass, it helps everybody – not just the client, but our entire health care economy,” she said. “I think it’s really interesting work.”
Spring 2017 applications for field placements at the MLPs will open in late September 2016. Please visit the Symplicity website to view the application.
Students can apply to enroll for the fall or spring semester (3 credits) or summer sessions (1-3 credits per session). Students work on site at either the University of Kansas Health Systems MLP at the KU Medical Center campus in Kansas City OR the Lawrence Memorial Hopsital MLP in Lawrence. During the application process, students can select a preferred primary site for MLP placement, though there may be occasional opportunities to float to the other MLP site.
To apply for a field placement with the MLP, please complete an application for the field placement position through Symplicity with Career Services. Placements will be determined on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. Students who have completed at least 28 hours of coursework at the time of placement are eligible to apply for a placement with the MLP.
Interested students should visit www.medical-legalpartnership.org to gain a better understanding of the medical-legal partnership model.