Our Story, Our Services
Albany Law School’s Health Law Clinic primarily provides legal services to families, and as resources permit, to individuals who have legal issues stemming from HIV/AIDS or Cancer. For the past several years, the scope of clinic has expanded to also address the poverty law needs of clients affected by other chronic medical conditions, mental illness, and substance abuse.
The Health Law Clinic is staffed by experienced advocates and by skilled second and third-year student interns. It also offers community education and outreach programs to increase access to legal services and improve health outcomes by addressing the social determinants of health. The Health Law Clinic is designed to teach students to identify and address the legal issues which poor individuals living with chronic health conditions often face.
Through faculty-supervised representation of clients participating students acquire a broad range of practical lawyering skills in the areas of client interviewing, factual investigation, case planning, client counseling, and litigation advocacy.
Students are admitted to practice under the Student Practice Rule and learn to have a heightened confidence in their lawyering abilities and a broader perspective of their role in ensuring access to justice for the needy.
The legal services provided relieve stress and allow them to focus their limited energy on their underlying health problems.
In response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s – and learning from our former AIDS Law Clinic which was one of the nation’s first clinical education programs to address the unmet legal needs of individuals and families affected by HIV and AIDS – the Health Law Clinic was established in 1992.
In 2004, the clinic received a grant from the Department of Health to expand to clients impacted by cancer.
Then, in 2012, Sherry Gold contributed $1 million in memory of her late husband to establish the Barry A. Gold ‘70 Health Law Clinical Program Endowment Fund.
Currently, the clinic assists clients and families throughout Upstate New York often representing low-income clients with cancer or other chronic medical conditions, and provide training on legal rights for clients, advocates, health care staff, physicians, and law and medical students.