Clinic Newsletter.pub by ghkgkyyt

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									University of
 Pittsburgh
    School             of



                                          Clinic Matters
       Law




                                                                                                                              Volume 4


                                                                                                                            Spring 2003



    INSIDE THIS ISSUE:                    Our Own Small (Mid-Size)
                                          (Growing) Law Firm
Arbitration Tales                     2
                                          The significant news of the past   Today, Martha Mannix calcu-         needs. We are hopeful of
Elder Clinic News                     2   few years in the Pitt Clinical     lated that we will need to ar-      starting a Community Devel-
                                          Program is our clinic space on     range for fifty-three (53) stu-     opment Clinic in the near fu-
Open House                            2   the 5th floor of Sennott           dents to be able to swipe their     ture which will offer opportu-
Case Study                            3
                                          Square, the new University         Pitt IDs to gain entrance to the    nities to students who want to
                                          building that is across South      Clinics. Who are these stu-         develop skills in transactional
CLEA Award                            3   Bouquet Street from the Law        dents? How did we grow so           lawyering areas.
                                          School. From the windows in        large? We have the three tradi-
                                      4   my new office, I see the snow-     tional Civil Practice (formerly     Service of clients has improved
Alumni News
                                          covered roofs of South Oak-        known as the Family Support         also. We have a reception area
                                          land, the Panther Hollow           Legal Clinic) Clinic, with both     in which clients can wait prior
                                          Bridge and Schenley Park. It is    the clinical classes and exten-     to their appointments. Stu-
                                          a very pleasant building, with     sion students and research          dents take turns doing phone
                                          the smell of Panera bread and      assistants. These are the Dis-      intake at our reception desk
                                          coffee constantly wafting          ability Discrimination and re-      every day. More computers
                                          through the floors from the        lated Matters Clinic, Elder Law     are available for students’ use,
                                          restaurant below. It does not      Clinic and Health Law Clinic,       although we are hoping for
                                          feel like the Law School any       supervised respectively and         more. We also have a roomy
                                          more, but rather more like an      respectfully by Professors          conference and library area.
                                          office building for our clinics.   Karen Engro, Martha Mannix,         We wanted our alumni to
                                          When we were all housed in         and me. Then, there is the En-      know that the clinics are in
                                          separate offices in the Law        vironmental Law Clinic with         good shape and that students
                                          School, it was easy to think of    Professor Thomas Buchele.           continue to be launched into
                                          each clinic as “on its own” with   The Low Income Taxpayer             lawyering through their clinic
                                          little interaction among stu-      Clinic students, under the su-      experience. Clients are being
                                          dents and faculty unless it was    pervision of adjunct Dixon          served well. While it gets quite
                                          scheduled. Now, in our new         Rich, Esq., also work out of        hectic and noisy at times with
 Clinic Faculty and                       space, we are naturally rubbing    this space. Finally, the newest     all of the people working in the
                                          shoulders and ideas with each      endeavor is the group of stu-       clinics, bottom-line, work is
 Staff                                    other. And, it is increasingly     dents who are working with          more efficient and coopera-
                                          clear that this new space is       Professor Harry Gruener,            tively beneficial. Come to visit!
 • Martha Mannix                          really a wonderful thing.          serving Clients with Family Law
   Elder Law Clinic                                                                                                            by Stella Smetanka
 • Karen Engro
   Disability Discrimination Clinic       Clinic Student Wins Award
 • Stella Smetanka                        In the Spring Semester of 2002,    but I also got a taste of the       the stepfather of a child could
   Health Law Clinic                      I enrolled in the Disability Law   satisfaction that the practice of   adopt her before her mother
                                          Clinic. Beginning the semester I   law can bring.                      passed away from AIDS.
 • Thomas Buchele                         had no idea what to expect                                             Throughout the semester Jen
                                          from working in a Clinic. By       During the semester, myself         and I held strong to our goal
   Environmental Law Clinic                                                  and my partner Jen Rea, who
                                          the end of the semester I real-                                        to complete the termination of
 • Jane LeHew                             ized it was the most beneficial    has since graduated, were as-       parental rights and adoption
   Clinic Administrator                   class I had taken thus far in my   signed a case in which we had       before the semester ended due
                                          law school career. Not only        to terminate the parental           to the fact that our client’s
 • Nadine Hamlett                         did I get a taste of what it       rights of a man whose where-        health was failing at a fast rate.
   Clinic Administrator                   really was like to practice law,   abouts were unknown so that                     (Continued on page 3)
         Tales From Arbitration
         Since the Fall of 2000, students in the      Lamb and his staff provide a list of all     forma pauperis, breach of contract and
         Disability Discrimination and Related        cases scheduled during the semester          feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) for
         Matters (emphasis on related) section of     wherein one or more party is proceed-        clients with a variety of mental and
         the Civil Practice Clinic have been rep-     ing pro se. Students receive instruction     physical impairments. Students also
         resenting parties at arbitration hearings    on court procedures and use of the on-       have the opportunity to use their trial
         in the Court of Common Pleas for Al-         line docketing system and, after review-     skills including presenting opening state-
         legheny County. The nation’s first           ing case files and doing conflict checks,    ments, conducting direct and cross ex-
         court-annexed arbitration program            write to potential parties offering to       amination of witnesses and making clos-
         began by court rule in 1952 right here       represent the party at hearing if the        ing arguments. Instant results are a hall-
         in Pittsburgh, PA. Any civil case filed in   party meets the Clinic’s income guide-       mark of the process; a decision is ren-
         Allegheny County alleging damages of         lines.                                       dered by the panel of arbitrators imme-
         less than $25,000 is automatically                                                        diately following the hearing so that the
         placed in arbitration. When such a           During the past five semesters, stu-         student lawyers know the outcome the
         complaint is filed a hearing date is as-     dents have gained experience in a vari-      same day. Case closed!
         signed, usually within three months of       ety of procedural and substantive issues
         the filing date. Prothonotary Michael        such as standing, drafting and amending                                 by Karen Engro
                                                      complaints, default judgments, filing in




         Elder Clinic News
         In October 2002, the Law School dedi-        where they reside, to apply for govern-      continued to work with the Family
         cated the “Sikov Elder Law Clinic.” The      ment benefits and to make any needed         Trust of Achieva to educate the stu-
         dedication was in recognition of the         medical decisions on behalf of the mi-       dents about supplemental and special
         three generations of the Sikov Family        nor.                                         needs trusts and the pooled trust ser-
         who have attended the Law School -                                                        vices available through the Family Trust.
         Meyer Sikov, Law ’17, Seymour Sikov,         The Clinic also does a substantial           Where appropriate, Achieva has re-
         Law ’50 and Carol Sikov Gross, Law           amount of counseling in the area of          ferred potential clients to the Clinic for
         ’84 - and their generous support of the      Medical Assistance eligibility for nursing   simple estate planning. As Tim Pawol,
         clinical program.                            home care. With increasing publicity         Director of the Family Trust points out,
                                                      and knowledge about the Common-              the availability of pooled trust arrange-
         The Elder Law Clinic had a busy 2002.        wealth’s Estate Recovery program, the        ments for individuals with limited assets
         Twenty students, plus two invaluable         clinic is receiving a number of calls from   allows that individual to preserve Medi-
         summer research assistants, continued        individuals seeking to transfer homes to     cal Assistance eligibility and, at the
         the clinic’s representation of elderly       family members prior to needing nurs-        same time, allows that individual a
         individuals and their families. While        ing home care. Students spend substan-       higher quality of life due to the availabil-
         continuing to represent individuals in       tial amounts of time counseling these        ity of “extras” that he otherwise could
         adult guardianship cases, the Clinic has     individuals about the pros and cons of       not afford.
         also branched out to assist “parenting       such a course of action and its implica-
         grandparents” obtain guardianship of         tions for Medical Assistance eligibility.                            by Martha Mannix
         minor grandchildren in their care. Such
         guardianship permits the grandparents        The Clinic (in conjunction with the Dis-
         to enroll the minors in school district      ability Discrimination Clinic) has also



         Clinic Faculty Welcome Alums to Open
         House
         On December 10, 2002, Professors
         Mannix, Engro, Buchele and Smetanka
         hosted an Open House in the new
         clinic quarters for alumni of the clinic.
         We were thrilled to reunite with about
         thirty of you who ventured to Oakland
         to see the new space. Thanks to Leslie
         Boyer and the Alumni Office for pro-                                                      Sandy Miller ’01, Meredith Shackle-
         viding the refreshments! See the photos                                                   ford ’01 & Patrick Webster ’01
         for familiar faces!                              Leslie Boyer & Eunice Whitted ’00


Page 2
                                                                                                                              CLINIC MATTERS
VOLUM E 4
                                                                                                                                      Page 3



Health Law Clinic Students Present Case
Study to Medical Students
Extension students, Neysha Sanders                                                         that ultimately persuaded the judge to
and Padmini Menu, of the Health Law                                                        grant their client benefits. The medical
Clinic appeared at the Community                                                           students would not let them leave; they
Health Forum of the University of Pitts-                                                   peppered them with questions. It may
burgh Medical School on January 30,                                                        have been the case study format with
2003, to discuss disability benefits in                                                    which they related, or it was most
the context of one of their cases from                                                     probably the enthusiastic and compas-
the Fall Semester. They held their audi-                                                   sionate way in which Padmini and Ney-
ence spellbound as they shared their                                                       sha spoke of their experience. Take
initial frustration with the case and how                                                  time to savor good results.
some very creative choices led them to
find the correct theory and the evi-                                                                            by Stella Smetanka
dence to support it in the problematic
case. Padmini spoke about posting her-      tured and supported the client’s life
self in the waiting room of the client’s    was at that facility. It became clear that
treating psychiatrist and confronting       without those supports, the client
him (gently) in the hall when he almost     would not be able to function.
left without seeing her. She was suc-
cessful in getting very positive informa-   It was interesting to me to hear them
tion from him for the case. Neysha          admit that when they are practicing
spoke about going to the half-way           lawyers, they know they will not have
house where the client was living and       time to put such options to work, but
spending almost a whole day with her,       at least in this case, their creative ideas
thereby getting a feeling for how struc-    made the difference in both how they
                                            approached the case and the evidence



Clinic Student Wins Award (cont.)
 (Continued from page 1)                     In the Fall semester of the following
 Through the help of a very understand-      year I found out that my Clinic Profes-
 ing Washington County Judge and nu-         sor, Karen Engro, nominated me for
 merous others, who facilitated our          the ACBA Pro Bono Law Student of
 learning of exactly what procedures we      the year award and I in fact was chosen.
 must follow to accomplish the tasks at      The Clinic enabled me to get this
 hand, we completed the adoption a           award because of the substantive and
 couple days after the semester ended.       important legal work the students are
 Our client was in the hospital at that      given. The award was just the icing on
 time and not expected to make it.           the cake of a very rewarding semester.
 However, she has since pulled herself
 out of the woods and is still trucking                               by Patrice Wade      Patrice Wade with her parents and
 away.                                                                                     Matthew Ometz of the AIDS Task Force




                                             First Annual CLEA Award to
                                             Clinical Student
                                             At the class of 2002’s graduation cere-
                                             mony last May, class member Natalie
                                             D’Amora received the first annual
                                             Clinical Legal Education Association
                                             (CLEA) Award for outstanding work as
                                             a clinical student. Natalie participated in
                                             the Environmental Law Clinic during
                                             the Spring of 2001, the first semester of
                                             the Environmental Law Clinic and by
                                             this award was recognized for her dedi-
Another picture from Open House.             cation and responsibility on behalf of
Prof. Martha Mannix, Karen Berg ’95,         her clients.
Mrs. Barkman & Kate Barkman ’96
                                               Alumni News
                                               I moved to Williamsport, PA shortly after the July, 2001 bar exam to begin my
                                               career with a small general practice firm as one of eleven attorneys. Since then,
                                               my time has been equally divided between medical malpractice defense litigation
                                               and corporate liability defense litigation. I also occasionally work representing mu-
             Civil Practice Clinic             nicipalities, school districts, and fire departments.
             University of Pittsburgh
                  School of Law
                 Sennott Square
                                               The Pitt Law School Clinics were instrumental in making my decision to become a
            210 South Bouquet Street           litigator. No other law school experience offers the real life, hands on experience
              Pittsburgh, PA 15260
                                               that is so valuable in deciding what area of the law a soon-to-be attorney wants to
             Phone: 412-648-1300               pursue as a career. It is so difficult to decide what subject area is interesting
              Fax: 412-648-1947
            Email: cpc@law.pitt.edu            enough to commit to for a career from the material extracted from a law school
                                               textbook.
                                               I entered law school in hopes of becoming a transactional lawyer, went through
       UNIVERSITY OF                           the health law certificate program with all intentions of working for a health law
                                               firm or health care provider, but discovered while I was working with the Health
        PITTSBURGH                             Law Clinic that I really enjoyed being a litigator. (It didn’t hurt that two local judges
                                               insisted that I pursue a career in litigation after I appeared before them on clinic
                                               matters.)
             School of Law                     My short career to date has been extremely rewarding. I have been exposed to a
                                               variety of different subject matters, and in the process, I have learned a lot about
                                               medicine, engineering, product design and safety, architecture, zoning, police and
                 We’re on the Web!
                                               fire departments, and others. I still hope to specialize in health care litigation
            www.law.pitt.edu/programs/
                      clinics                  some day, but once I decided to be a litigator in my third year of law school, I
                                               never looked back.
                                                                          Brian J. Bluth, Esq., Health Law Clinic Class of 2001




Yolanda Trotman, Elder Law
Clinic Class of 2002, has relocated
to Charlotte, NC. She is working in
the Public Defender’s office and de-
scribes the experience, as follows:
“As for my job … it’s awesome. I truly
love working the Public Defender’s office. I
never in a million years thought I would       WRITE AND TELL US ABOUT YOU!
end up doing this kind of work, but it defi-
nitely suits me. It’s fast paced, I get to
really dig deep on issues and think on my      We would love to know how you are
feet. My cases are my own that I have
from start to finish. I do misdemeanors …        doing — significant and not-so-
from an open container violation to as-
saults and DWI’s. I have tried several         significant events, job changes, pro
cases, all bench trials for now. But I just
got assigned my first appeal which will be              bono activities, etc.
in Superior Court in front of a jury. It’s a
minor change, but can shape up to be a
complex case because it centers around                 Email us at cpc@law.pitt.edu
time frame and mistaken identity. I have
responsibility for the entire case from ar-
raignment to trial ….”

								
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