Memphis and UT Law Focus on Serving Local Communities

Each issue of TYL will include news about two of Tennessee’s six law schools. This issue features news from the University of Tennessee College of Law and the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis.

Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
Launches Health Law & Policy Initiative

By Amy T. Campbell

Over the last few years, health law has grown into a dynamic practice area devoted to using law to advance health at individual, population, organization and system levels. Based on the growth of this industry as well as the city of Memphis being uniquely positioned in the health community, the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis is seizing this opportune time to develop its own Health Law & Policy Initiative. The program, now under development, will formally launch in early 2014. Heading up this new program is Amy T. Campbell, the new director of the Health Law Institute and associate professor of law at the University of Memphis.

The mission of this initiative will be three-pronged: Education, Scholarship and Service.

Educational goals will focus on developing competencies and skills in law students for interdisciplinary, client- and mission-driven practice via traditional coursework, externships and other skills-based opportunities and scholarship. Focus areas will cover traditional health law practice, as well as public health and health system policy and science/biotechnology. Faculty will have expertise in a diverse array of health law areas, and will be drawn from the surrounding community.

Scholarship opportunities will provide students the possibility for self-directed and faculty-sponsored research, both within and transcending the law school’s boundaries. Examples of such collaboration include partnering with affiliated faculty with the University of Memphis School of Public Health and School of Nursing, as well as the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

A focus on service will extend the initiative’s reach into the community, where the program will endeavor to address unmet health law needs of local organizations and populations. Activities include holding community forums on health law and policy issues, and working with community leaders to proactively address health policy needs.

In each of these three areas, the school will focus on the overarching mission to use the law to advance health.

For more information about the program please contact Campbell at A.T.Campbell@memphis.edu or (901) 678-3231.
 

UT Pro Bono Addresses Needs of Local Communities
By Brad Morgan


The Pro Bono Society of the University of Tennessee College of Law is a community service organization with significant student leadership and staff direction. The program strives to connect law students with area attorneys representing indigent clients. Working in cooperation with attorneys, local legal aid societies and other nonprofit organizations, it serves as a resource to the profession by providing law students for research, educational and investigatory assistance.

Brad Morgan joined the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2010 as the access to justice and mentoring coordinator. In this post, Morgan works to develop, maintain and advance strategic relationships with a variety of groups that both offer and need pro bono service.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, UT Pro Bono set a goal of donating 1,600 hours of pro bono work to the East Tennessee region. By the end of the year, students put in almost 7,000 hours of pro bono work. During the 2013-2014 academic year, UT Pro Bono once again is on track to make a major difference in the community through pro bono service on a variety of projects.

A typical project will involve first identifying a particular subject matter of interest to the students or a particular need that the students are interested in serving. Second, UT Pro Bono reaches out to community partners that serve as access points for either the subject matter area or the population. For example, if students were interested in working on child advocacy issues, the school would reach out to the Department of Children’s Services. If students were interested in serving the homeless, the school would reach out to Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries. Students working with these organization might offer “know your rights” presentations and/or advice clinics through these partnerships.

Student participation in a law school pro bono program helps bridge the gap between theory and practice, enriching understanding of how law relates to life. It is across this “bridge”—in addition to other experiential learning opportunities—that students are able to develop core competencies such as interviewing, fact-finding, rapport building and teamwork.

Pro bono service also increases the confidence in the judicial system that it serves. As the public participates in pro bono programming, its perception of the bar and the legitimacy of the legal process increases. Of course, the benefit that individuals receive through advice, counsel or service – which they would have not have received except through pro bono programs – cannot be understated.

UT Pro Bono is committed to giving back as it works with volunteers, individuals, nonprofit organizations, courts and law firms to address the needs of local communities.

For more information on UT Pro Bono or to partner with UT Law on a pro bono project, contact Brad Morgan at rmorgan2@utk.edu or (865) 974-2492.

TENNESSEE YOUNG LAWYER
FALL 2013


SPOTLIGHT ON TENNESSEE LAW SCHOOLS

Editors Note: Each issue of TYL will include news about two of Tennessee’s six law schools. If you have information you would like to see included, please contact TYL Editor Justin Faith and Publications Committee Chair Chaz Molder.