In a rare medical-legal partnership to help low-income cancer patients address legal issues related to their illness, Kaye Scholer recently partnered with long-time client Pfizer Inc. to sponsor the creation of Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer, a free law clinic at Wayne State University Law School.
The clinic began in 2011 with Kathryn Smolinski, a third-year Wayne Law student. She won a two-year Equal Justice Works Fellowship to develop the partnership and the program that today has become the Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic. In addition to Pfizer and Kaye Scholer, Jackson Lewis also served as a sponsor.
Smolinski completed her law degree and worked with David Moss, director of clinical education at Wayne Law, to create a successful program from the fellowship. During the fellowship’s second year, Smolinski and Moss worked with Wayne Law Dean Jocelyn Benson, to seek new funding to transform the program into a full-fledged clinic.
During its two-year tenure, the program served more than 100 cancer patients and their families in the Detroit area. Legal services include helping patients attain public benefits, retain their jobs and homes while their cancer treatment is ongoing, and plan their estates and long-term health care needs.
Smolinski is now director of the new clinic, and beginning January 2014, the Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic becomes part of Wayne State University Law School’s curriculum, where law students can earn six-credits by working at the clinic. Thanks to the initial support of Kaye Scholer and her sponsorship partners, the clinic is the first of its kind in Michigan and one of the first in the nation to serve cancer patients.
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