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University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer 2014

Did You Know? For the years 2010–2020, the health care and social assistance sector is projected to have the largest growth, 5.6 million jobs, and the fastest growth rate, 3 percent, among all major sectors. —Monthly Labor Review, January 2012, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics For law students, health care is hot,” declares the headline of a recent article in the Sacramento Business Journal, which surveyed the region’s legal landscape for prospects of growth. “With tuition at top law schools in the region exceeding $40,000 a year, it’s imperative that a degree lead to a job. … Young attorneys are following the money—straight into health care,” writes SBJ correspondent Bess Shapiro in the Nov. 22, 2013, dispatch. Natural resources, immigration and other traditional areas for growth in California are “still going strong,” Shapiro adds, “but as the economy goes, so go the attorneys.” Recent Health Care Overhaul Makes It the Right Time for Change That’s not exactly how Dorothy Landsberg, ’87, Pacific McGeorge’s associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor of lawyering skills, describes the present and future terrain, but it’s no surprise that the dean was one of the key interviewees in the SBJ article. She has been spearheading efforts at McGeorge to rethink and reconfigure its health law program, along with Clark Kelso, associate dean of strategic initiatives, professor of law and senior counsel for the Capital Center for Public Law & Policy, and Melissa Brown, director of legal clinics and professor of lawyering skills. Landsberg notes that restructuring health law offerings aligns with the university’s recently released Pacific 2020 strategic plan—which emphasizes health-related programs. She and Kelso also point to forces beyond the walls of academia that are helping to shape and accelerate McGeorge’s health law expansion and improvement. “The main impetus is a recognition—in large part, because of the Affordable Care Act and its implementation—that this field is undergoing a complete transformation,” says Kelso. “Most of the law dealing with health-related insurance and the organization of health care facilities is undergoing + Beyond the Classroom: Clinics and Externships Legal clinic and field experiences are important aspects of Pacific McGeorge’s health law curriculum. Recent field placements for students include externships in state government offices—including the Attorney General, Health Care Services and the Department of Public Health— as well as at nonprofits, from the California Medical Association to Disability Rights of California. At Pacific McGeorge’s Elder & Health Law Clinic, students tackle issues unique to the aging population, including health care access, Social Security, Medicare/ Medi-Cal, estate planning and elder abuse. Many cases require an interdisciplinary approach to lawyering, in which clinic students represent elders in court and on transactional matters concerning planning for death, incapacity and a variety of other issues. The Elder & Health Law Clinic is one of a select few elder law programs at California law schools to receive a 2011 cy pres award. “Our students serve vulnerable members of our community and take on social justice issues that deal with patient dignity and nondiscrimination,” says Professor Melissa Brown, who supervises the R E clinic. “They see it as an opportunity to do good, to be AT E Associate Dean of Strategic challenged—and in this economy, for employment.” Y E V Initiatives Clark Kelso. E T S PACI F I C L AW 27


University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer 2014
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