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School of Law

Faculty: Professors Don Stone and Linda Penn

Students represent patients in involuntary civil commitment hearings at the Sheppard Pratt psychiatric hospital. Students engage in client interview and counseling sessions, review medical records, and engage in case preparation and development by interviewing a psychiatrist and, often, family members. Representation culminates with an administrative hearing. Professional responsibility issues come alive in the ongoing representation of a mentally ill client seeking release from involuntary hospital confinement.

Recent cases have involved:

  • Representing mentally ill children with posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Representing adults with disabilities such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
  • Representing elderly clients with Alzheimer's-type dementia
  • Predicting dangerous behavior to protect the life or safety of the individual or others
  • Advocating for less restrictive forms of intervention, such as outpatient treatment, medications compliance and voluntary admission.

Prerequisite: Evidence.

Co- or prerequisites: Law and Disabilities and Professional Responsibility.

Policies and procedures:

Students enrolled in the Disability Law Clinic, offered for three credits during spring semester only, are required to concurrently enroll in the Law and Disabilities Seminar. The Disability Law Clinic professor selects each student based on an information/interview meeting, resume review, and review of written materials submitted. Selection criteria include background and experience in mental health, nursing and psychology; demonstrated evidence of community service and poverty work; related coursework; and date of graduation.