Our legal system and its policies shape the health and welfare of families in a variety of ways. The Family Health Law & Policy Institute prepares students for a career relating to family law and policy, health law, or the dynamic intersection of the two.
Delaware Law launched the Family Health Law & Policy Institute in 2015 to influence legislation in relation to family health and welfare and to help our students gain the legal knowledge, experience, and skills to prepare for a rewarding career and improve client outcomes.
The institute offers a rich curriculum relating to these subjects, including a robust field component, where students acquire real-world experience in a variety of settings: the Veterans Law Clinic; the Medical-Legal Partnership; relevant law firm practice; clerkships with family law judges; and placements in corporations involved in such diverse areas as pharmaceuticals and insurance.
The Institute also offers academic and practitioner-focused symposia and continuing legal education programs, as well as community outreach, and encourages and supports faculty and student research.
Beyond legal education, the Institute advises organizations on related policy matters and strives to not only influence but reform this area of the law. A collaborative approach with partnering organizations helps advance our mission while assisting clients. In turn, Juris Doctor (JD) candidates become involved in real-world policy issues while gaining hands-on experience. Each step of the way, our faculty and JD candidates highlight family law issues through legal scholarship.
JD candidates who choose to specialize their degree in family health law will have opportunities to participate in clinics and complete an externship at a local hospital or school during their second and third years:
Through the Health, Education and Legal Assistance Project: A Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP), the Family Health Law & Policy Institute partners with a wide range of healthcare organizations, including:
These partnerships address the social determinants of health affecting low-income communities in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
MLP is one of the first medical-legal partnerships with a federally funded Healthy Start program. Family health law students provide free civil legal services and work with partnering organizations’ nurses and social workers to improve clients’ overall health and wellbeing. In participating in MLP, JD candidates:
The Delaware Civil Law Clinic (DCC) allows students to gain practical experience through civic engagement in the Delaware community. Mentored by the clinic director and staff attorney, students represent survivors of domestic violence who live below the poverty line, as well as cases involving civil orders, child custody, visitation, and documentation for the elderly and terminally ill. In taking on these cases, JD candidates get practice:
The first of its kind in the country, Delaware Law’s Veterans Law Clinic offers JD candidates the opportunity to provide pro bono legal representation to low-income and disabled veterans and their families. Cases involve appealing Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rulings and securing compensation for disabled veterans. To date, the clinic has recovered over $13 million in benefits.
Participating family health law students evaluate cases, gather supporting evidence, and provide representation in court to veterans or their dependents.
Second- and third-year JD candidates studying family health law may pursue two fellowships.
If you’re considering a career representing clients in family law cases or influencing related policy, reach out to the Institute’s Co-Directors with your questions or to request additional information today.