The Center for Elder Justice & Policy is uniquely positioned to benefit seniors and their families by transferring academic knowledge to policymakers and advocacy groups as they address the significant issues associated with society’s aging population.
The Center for Elder Justice & Policy focuses on education, research, and public service opportunities in the context of elder law and aging issues. Students benefit from a rich elder law curriculum that is one of the most comprehensive in the nation.
Outside of the classroom, students gain practical wisdom through hands-on work to help advocacy groups, policymakers, and government agencies that assist seniors and their families. Using technology and other resources, students collect and disseminate valuable information to these groups, in an effort to improve communication and collaboration, which results in more efficient and effective services provided to seniors and their families.
Students also participate in workshops, community dialogue, and other advocacy projects involving legal and public policy issues. They also have opportunities to co-author articles on elder law.
Elder Law Courses at William Mitchell College of Law
Prerequisite: Property I
Elder Law I will addresses law and policy relating to the following issues as they relate to the elderly population:special ethical issues, property management, planning for incapacity, surrogate decision-making, guardianship and end of life, income security, paying for health and long term care, housing, crime/fraud/elder abuse, and the rights of nursing home and assisted living residents.
Recommended courses: Elder Law, Elder Law Survey, Elder Law I OR Elder Law II
In this class, students will research and write a substantial annotated bibliography on an issue related to elder law, for publication on the National Elder Law Network (NELN.org). NELN is a website hosted at William Mitchell devoted to creating public awareness of issues affecting the senior population. The bibliography will include references to print and Web-based materials. Students will meet once as a group at the beginning of the semester; thereafter, by appointment with the professor.
NOTE: Enrollment is limited. This course does not satisfy the long paper requirement.
Pre- or co-requisite: Elder Law Survey OR Elder Law I OR Elder Law II
This course is an optional one-credit supplement to the 2-hour Elder Law courses. This workshop aims to broaden students’ understanding of elder law issues and introduce them to issues associated with drafting legal documents for an older client, such as special ethical considerations and cultural issues associated with aging. The workshop will focus on a set of skills not often taught in law school: translating the law for lay people, presenting legal concepts to lay people, and drafting sample documents. These skills are important to lawyers whose practice involves training of groups of lay people.
Students may have the opportunity to work with elder law specialists and and advocates for the elderly community in the Twin Cities.
Students also write a short expository article, suitable for a lay audience, on a topic pertaining to elder law, give an informal presentation relating to the topic to a seniors’ organization or other gathering of older persons, and draft documents relating to subject matter of the paper/presentation. For each project, there will be feedback on a preliminary product.
Prerequisite: Elder Law Survey (formerly Elder Law) OR Elder Law I OR Elder Law II
Students in the Elder Justice and Policy combine an external placement with an elder justice organization (e.g., a legal aid organization serving seniors, an elder advocacy project, or a senior rights organization) with an intense seminar that will involve, inter alia, preparing a substantial research paper addressing an issue or area of significant state or national interest implicating the legal needs of the elderly population, discussing advanced topics in elder law (e.g., advanced ethical issues in an elder law practice), and investigating the use of technology in the practice of elder law and elder advocacy. Students who wish to enroll in this course must apply to work on a specific project (or projects) for a specific organization , and will be placed with that organization for the semester in which they are enrolled in the class. Projects typically entail drafting legislation and working towards its passage in the state legislature or at the national level, developing self-help resources for seniors on specific areas of interest, or conducting empirical research on elder justice issues. Projects will be clearly defined from the outset, with the nature of the student´s responsibilities set out prior to the student´s placement within the organization. The total credits awarded for the course will depend on the specific project to which the student is assigned.
NOTE: Enrollment in this class is by application only. No-drop policy applies. Class may be used to satisfy the long paper requirement.
This course will explore the themes of feminist theory as they relate to issues of gender and age, and show the connections between these themes and topics such as the family, employment discrimination, and violence against women. Readings will include essays on feminist legal theory, articles on the demographics of aging and their effect on social policy, and fiction (short stories and novels) about growing older. Classes will be conducted mostly through discussions.
We will meet seven weeks out of the first ten weeks of the semester. The last two or three weeks of the semester, students will present their papers and invite discussion. A 20-30 page paper of publishable quality is required; there is no final examination. This course will satisfy the long paper requirement.
This course will offer a history of the disability rights movement through a survey of federal disability law. Readings will include primary and secondary materials on such federal legislation as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (as amended in 2008), IDEA, and other federal protections against disability-based discrimination. Students will be expected to write a substantial (25 pages or more) paper on an underdeveloped or controversial aspect of disability law and present this paper to the class in the final weeks of the semester. Grading will be based on the final paper plus class attendance and participation. No exam. Enrollment limited to 15.
Co/Prerequisites: Advocacy, Professional Responsibility
Recommended Courses: Income Tax, Elder Law, Trusts and Estates
This is a clinic for students interested in working on tax issues, or in representing low income people in a non-litigation setting. The Clinic represents individuals and tax-exempt organizations in need of legal planning assistance outside the business context. Clients include not-for-profit organizations seeking to gain or maintain tax-exempt status, as well as individuals seeking other kinds of legal planning assistance, e.g. with trust and estate issues, health care directives, powers of attorney, permanency planning for children or other dependents, etc. Every student who would like to is guaranteed the opportunity to work on tax-related cases. Under the supervision of full-time and adjunct faculty, students take full responsibility for representing their clients. In the course of such representation, students interview and counsel clients, conduct negotiations, research relevant law and draft ruling requests, advice letters, legal memos, organizational documents, etc. Students meet weekly in a seminar class in addition to individually with supervising faculty. Some required activities (such as meetings with clients or other entities, investigation and interviews) might take place during normal business hours. This clinic does not engage in litigation or tax controversy work.