CONSUMR JUSTICE ELDER LIT CL (ADVOCACY AND LEGAL SKILLS - 2010)
The Elder Law Clinic is a one-semester in-house clinical program and is available to second and third-year students. The Clinic addresses the legal needs of Queens' senior citizens and affords students the opportunity to develop essential lawyering skills, practical legal knowledge and professional responsibility while serving the community. Students represent clients in the areas of consumer law (focusing on consumer frauds and scams, including predatory lending), debtor-creditor law and benefit entitlements, such as social security disability, supplemental security income, Medicaid and pension benefits. Clinical Professors supervise students in all aspects of client representation. Students provide representation from the initial client contact through the final resolution of their case. Accordingly, students perform client and witness interviews; perform legal research; draft all pleadings including complaints, answers, motions and briefs; conduct discovery proceedings, including depositions; argue motions; represent clients at administrative hearings and at court hearings and trials; and represent clients at settlement negotiations and draft settlement agreements. Students are required to work in the Clinic 13 hours a week (20 hours a week during summer program). There is also a weekly 2-hour seminar component.
SOCIAL SECURITY LAW (LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW - 1070)
This course provides an introduction to Social Security Law. It focuses especially on how Social Security's benefit rules relate to employment, family relationships, and household composition; how its procedures address the challenge of adjudicating the massive number of benefit claims that arise each year; and where lawyers fit in that process. It covers issues of entitlement and benefit calculation arising out of Social Security programs. The phrase "Social Security" is used throughout the course to refer more narrowly to the programs found in Title II of the Social Security Act: retirement benefits, survivor's benefits, and disability benefits. The course also gives summary treatment to questions of entitlement and benefit amount under Title XVI, the Supplement Security Income program (SSI), which provides benefits for individuals in the same population segments who have insufficient income. The course covers the administrative process for contesting an agency decision as well as the process for judicial review. This is an asynchronous, web-based course taught on-line by Professor Peter Martin of Cornell Law School to students of St. John's and other participating law schools. Lectures and readings are accessed through the course website, and class discussion takes place by postings on a course discussion board. Every three weeks, the participating faculty member at St. John's will hold an in-person group meeting with the St. John's students to discuss their experience with the course. Grades are based on a final examination written and graded by Professor Martin and can be influenced by performance on periodic Mastery Exercises. An on-line course demands a fairly high familiarity and comfort level with the Web environment as well as regular access to a computer. For more details on the course see the course Web site: http://www.law.cornell.edu/socsec/course/. Students must meet with Professor Calabrese to obtain prior approval to enroll in the course.