Download our guide to becoming a guardian without a lawyer under Article 81 of the New York Mental Hygiene Law (note: not a substitute for legal advice from an attorney)
The Disability and Aging Justice Clinic (formerly known as the Elder Law Clinic) advocates to enhance and promote the civil rights, autonomy, and self-determination of low-income individuals with disabilities and aging adults, and their families and support networks.
The Disability and Aging Justice Clinic (DAJC) facilitates access to justice through direct legal representation, advocacy projects, and community outreach and education with the mission of empowering our clients as they navigate and challenge systems that seek to exclude, oppress, dehumanize, and disenfranchise.
In their work in DAJC, students are challenged to think critically about social justice advocacy and engage in the examination of legal doctrine and its shortcomings, including and especially ethical issues around competence and capacity. The DAJC seminar has three main goals to prepare students in developing and strengthening their advocacy skills. First, the Clinic covers substantive law and policy, both to give you a general foundation for your case and policy work in the clinic and later to explore certain topics in further depth. Second, the DAJC addresses practice skills such as client interviewing, fact investigation, client-centered advocacy, cross-cultural lawyering, legal writing, and lawyering in the digital age. Finally, the seminar will serve as a forum to discuss practical, legal and ethical concerns that arise in your cases and policy work throughout the semester.
Students may represent clients in court and administrative proceedings in a variety of civil legal matters, including securing eligibility for government benefits and services, prisoners’ rights, and discrimination in access to programs and services. Students may work to assist parents and families who are vulnerable to arrest, detention, and removal due to immigration status in protecting their children through advance planning documents. Students may also represent parties as court evaluator or guardian ad litem in adult guardianship cases, represent people who need estate and disability planning with wills, trusts (including supplemental needs trusts) and advance directives (health care proxy, power of attorney).