Southern Illinois University School of Law

Southern Illinois University Carbondale


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Civil Practice/Elderly Clinic: Information for Students


Civil Practice/Elderly Clinic / LAW 673

Course Instructors: Clinical Professor Rebecca O'Neill; Clinical Assistant Professor Heidi Ramos; Interim Clinic Director John Erbes

The Civil Practice/Elderly Clinic is open to any student who has completed the first year of legal studies and is in good academic standing. See the School of Law Rules relating to Clinics and Field Placements web page for more details about enrollment in clinical courses.

Those students who wish to utilize an Illinois Student Practice License (711 License) must have completed 45 hours of law credit and be in good academic standing. Having a 711 License allows students to represent clients and appear in court under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Students who have not completed the requirements for obtaining a 711 License may still enroll in the course, but the work they can perform is more limited.

Students who enroll in the Civil Practice/Elderly Clinic work with an experienced clinic attorney to help provide civil legal services to senior citizens from a 13-county area in Southern Illinois. Each student is assigned to a supervising attorney and is responsible for several cases.

Students represent clients from the intake interview through the completion of their case, whenever possible. Students improve or enhance the following legal skills through this clinical experience:

    Factual Investigation
    Client Interviewing and Counseling
    Legal Research and Writing
    Developing and Implementing Legal Theories
    Drafting and Reviewing Legal Documents
    Filing Papers and Working with the Circuit Clerks
    Representing Clients in Court
    Negotiating with Opposing Counsel
    Working with Other Attorneys and Staff in a Law Office Setting
    File Management and Case Management


In addition to representing clients, students have regular class meetings to learn the substantive legal areas most commonly encountered in working with older clients. These areas include:

     Drafting Simple Wills
     Drafting Powers of Attorney for Health Care and Property
     Representing Clients in Guardianship Proceedings


A variety of other civil legal areas are also covered, such as:

     Divorce
     Grandparent visitation
     Consumer fraud
     Elder abuse and neglect
     Nursing home rights violations
     Creditor problems
     Contract problems