LAWRENCE – A new pop-up clinic at the University of Kansas School of Law will offer free legal services to essential workers in health care settings.
Under the umbrella of the KU School of Law’s Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP), the Advance Care Planning Clinic will help workers complete vital legal documents. KU Law students, KU MLP licensed attorneys and pro bono private bar attorneys will work with clients remotely through the clinic.
The clinic will help with completing the following documents:
- General durable power of attorney for health care decisions
- Health care directive/living will
- General durable power of attorney for financial decisions
- Last will and testament (for low-income/low-asset estates)
The legal services are available to essential workers, including medical personnel, support staff in areas such as dining and facilities, and administrative staff. Applicants should be at 400% or less of the federal poverty level. Employees at KU Law’s MLP partner health systems, LMH Health and the KU Medical Center campus of The University of Kansas Health System, will receive priority.
Workers interested in receiving services from the clinic can fill out an online interest form to start their application.
Lumen Mulligan, a professor at the law school who serves as director of KU’s Medical-Legal Partnership, said the MLP project is part of a national movement that recognizes that often medical problems are caused by legal issues. With support from its partner health systems, the KU MLP has been “diagnosing or curing legal problems for patient clients for years,” he said.
“In the face of the COVID-19 emergency, we diagnosed another potential concern: Many of our front-line workers in the health care industry lacked these essential documents that could give them some peace of mind as they perform their essential services,” Mulligan said.
Coming soon after National Healthcare Decisions Day, which happens annually April 16, the clinic serves as a reminder and accessible opportunity for applicants to prepare important documents, said Juliann Morland DaVee, managing attorney for the KU MLP at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
“I am extremely grateful for the partnerships we have with our health care systems and for all of the front-line health care teams that are tirelessly working to keep our communities healthy and strong,” Morland DaVee said. “I am pleased that this clinic provides the MLP a chance to give back.”
The law school started recruiting students to work with the clinic April 13 and began training those students the following week. The clinic started taking applications for service April 23. All of the clinic’s services will operate remotely, from training students and pro bono attorneys to conducting client interviews and document execution.
“Our MLP managing attorneys and KU Law student volunteers moved with all appropriate speed to construct a socially distanced means of providing this service,” Mulligan said.
In addition to providing legal services, the clinic offers hands-on learning experience for law students, said Heather Spielmaker, assistant dean for career services at KU Law.
“Through this program, law students will work on as many estate planning documents in just a few short weeks as a general practitioner might see in their first year. It’s a great experience for a great cause,” Spielmaker said.
More information about the Advance Care Planning Clinic, including how to apply for legal services, is available at law.ku.edu/advance-care-clinic.