Clinic Provides Experience

Clinic Provides Experience
Touro’s Senior Citizens Law Program has hosted Paralegal students for the past two years in partnership with The Paralegal Studies Program at Suffolk County Community College.
Participating students are exposed to many of the issues our senior citizen client population face on a daily basis, including the need for Medicaid and Advance Directives, debt collection cases, housing needs, SNAP, Medicare and Social Security requirements, crimes against the elderly, and other general matters. The students work under the direction of Judith Lespinasse, Elder Law Paralegal/Gerontologist in the Senior Citizens Law Program.
“It is important to provide students who are interested in the law with some hands-on experience to further explore both the law and legal careers,” stated Clinical Director Melina Healey. “The program has been met with great success as the students enjoy the work and learning more about the law. Several have even gone on to apply to Touro Law.”
Throughout the course, students had direct interaction with clients during the intake process, involving dialogue to find out what issue(s) the client is dealing with and how to proceed with seeking the appropriate outcome. Students were also provided with hypothetical case studies that require research, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
Prior to the pandemic, students were physically in the office. During the pandemic, meetings were held virtually twice a week. The students met in a large group meeting early in the week to plan and review case studies. Then the students would follow-up directly with their client(s) on intake forms and pending questions and issues. Students were also able to join Professor Lespinasse for additional virtual meetings that touched on a variety of matters.
Lespinasse stated, “The individual calls with clients were like on-the-job training sessions for these students, enabling them to hone client interaction skills while helping to solve real problems.” She continued, “It has been a rewarding experience to share my knowledge with such an enthusiastic group of students, many of whom will go on to careers in the legal profession.”


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