Ethical Challenges of Using Law Student Interns/Externs to Expand Services to Low-Income Older Adults

Law student on a legal hotline.Bifocal, the ABA Commission on Law and Aging’s bi-monthly journal, recently published an article by Ellie Lanier, Managing Attorney, UGA School of Law; Keith Morris, President, Elder Law of Michigan, and Director, Center for Elder Rights Advocacy; and Alaina Anderson, Attorney-Advisor, U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Office of Chief Counsel. The article highlights the ethical challenges of using law student interns and externs.

By exploring and addressing a range of ethical dilemmas related to using law students to expand access to services, the article discusses the distinction between legal advice and legal information, the unauthorized practice of law, state bar student practice rules, appropriate supervision, law school versus on-site supervision responsibilities, confidentiality contracts, database encryption, and what to do if a student “goes rogue.” The article can be found online at the ABA’s website.

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