This clinic focuses on teaching students interviewing and counseling skills through practice client-centered lawyering. The course builds on UCLAW’s strong skills training curriculum developed by David Binder and others, but integrates students with the work of the Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project (“LA HLPP”). LA HLPP is a collaborative project of UCLA School of Law, its Williams Institute, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Inner City Law Center, and Bet Tzedek Legal Services. In its first two years of operation (2013-2015), LA HLPP established a centralized intake line addressing over 900 matters for primarily low-income individuals living with HIV in Los Angeles County. The centralized intake line accepts callers facing civil legal issues and seeks to provide legal information, legal referrals, and legal services where possible.
Students will conduct comprehensive intake interviews, provide legal information, and offer substantive legal assistance in administrative law matters to individuals who call the hotline and who attend off-site workshops that offer legal assistance. While the exact nature of the matters addressed through the clinic would depend on the issues presented by callers, these may include a wide array of disability-related public and private benefits such as Social Security disability, long-term disability, and post-entitlement issues associated with these benefits. LA HLPP also provides assistance through monthly community-based clinics, where staff, students and pro bono volunteers from the Los Angeles County Bar Association come together to address unmet legal needs in a specific legal issue area. LA HLPP’s current clinics are focused on immigration and debtors’ rights. Finally, LA HLPP provides community education to AIDS service organizations and impacted client/patient groups regarding various topics addressing legal rights and responsibilities.
Through this seminar, students will have the opportunity to learn interviewing and counseling skills, including fact-gathering, decision-making, case analysis and planning, client counseling, collaboration, and administrative law pertaining to disability benefits in the context of serving people living with HIV. They will have the opportunity to practice those skills for eight hours per week through staffing the centralized intake line located in Dodd Hall, helping to provide legal services in administrative law matters, assisting in community-based clinics off-site, and leading education activities.
Students in this four-unit course will be graded. Grades will include participation credit. As part of their grade, students will develop a project proposal and presentation exploring work in one of the areas that LA HLPP addresses. Throughout the course, students will be assigned several reflection assignments. There is no pre-requisite for the course.