The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law’s Pro Bono Initiative and the Center for Law and Biomedical Sciences sponsor the pro-bono Medical-Legal Clinic. The Clinic operates with the support of the University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake County Health Department, University of Utah Health Care, and operates under the direction of volunteer law students and attorneys. It aims to provide access to legal assistance for low-income and vulnerable populations at the South Main Health Clinic and also provides students of the College of Law with practical volunteer experience.
The Medical-Legal Clinic receives most of its client referrals directly from providers and staff at the South Main clinic; as a result, many of the clients the Medical-Legal Clinic serves are patients with legal issues that have been identified by their healthcare providers at the clinic. Healthcare providers and legal professionals alike recognize that the ‘social determinants of health’ – the conditions in which people are born and live – affect their physical and mental health. The Medical-Legal Clinic is an innovative and collaborative approach to the multifaceted social, legal, and health problems that vulnerable populations face.
To date, the Medical-Legal Clinic has seen clients with diverse legal needs ranging from family law and immigration matters to medical malpractice, ADA claims, public benefits eligibility, unsafe housing, and debt collection issues. The Medical-Legal Clinic is planning to expand its visibility, community engagement, and outreach by increasing advertising in other public health facilities throughout the Salt Lake Valley.