Health Law Clinic's Inaugural Pop-up Wills Clinic Provides Vital Community Service

Volunteers for the pop-up wills clinic

In April, the Health Law Clinic at Case Western Reserve University School of Law hosted its first Pop-up Wills Clinic, helping more than 30 community members obtain wills, power of attorney and other important legal documents.

The clinic provided students with the unique opportunity to combine theory with practice. They worked with clients directly, walking them through the process to completion.

“We are very proud of the work our students did in planning and participating in the inaugural wills clinic,” said Health Law Clinic Fellow Jessica Edelstein. “Our students identified an essential legal service that our clients and others in the community did not have easy access to and rose to the occasion, determined to address that need.

four people sit around a table to discuss wills

“End of life planning allows people to control their financial and healthcare decisions, but it is a difficult topic to think about and the added financial barrier of seeking legal advice often leaves many people avoiding the process altogether,” added Edelstein.

Students, faculty and alumni worked together to make the pop-up wills clinic a success.

3Ls Lillian Hall and Valera Ghali organized the clinic under Edelstein's guidance. Adjunct Professor Joan Burda trained more than 35 1L and 3L law student volunteers. Also lending expertise were CWRU School of Law alumni Lacey Ferrara (LAW ‘20) and Ryan Krisby (LAW ‘18); Sarah Polly, managing attorney of the law clinic; and Laura McNally-Levine, professor and director of the Milton and Charlotte Kramer Law Clinic. 

According to McNally-Levine, the clinic was a true learning experience for students while providing an important service to the community. One client told her that “the students were professional and easy to talk to—and if they are the future of the legal profession, we are all in good hands.”

The clinic gave the students a sense of fulfillment and increased confidence, while adding a new skill set that will be helpful in their legal careers, added Edelstein. “We look forward to providing this service again in the near future.”

The Health Law Clinic is one of nine clinics under the umbrella of the School of Law’s Milton and Charlotte Kramer Law Clinic. Every law student undertakes a 3L capstone in one of the clinics or a semester-long externship. Based on the work of the Health Law Clinic and the other clinics, preLaw magazine (Spring 2022) ranked Case Western Reserve University School of Law 5th best law school in the nation in practical training.