Health Law Practice & Policy Practicum

Professor Mary Coombs

(305) 284-3616




Course Description


This is an extern “clinic” in which students work in various public and private sector field placements that maintain a health law practice. The goal of the practicum is to offer students a practical opportunity to deepen their understanding of legal issues confronting health care organizations and other public, private and non-profit organizations whose mission include health care delivery, access to care, public health or broader policy concerns and to provide some exposure to the range of health care-related legal jobs. The list of potential placements can be found at 


Students will work under close supervision at the placement site. Each student is responsible for producing substantive work products as directed by the placement supervisor. The nature of the work product will differ from site to site. The work may be litigation-oriented, advisory, transactional or policy development in nature. No matter where they are placed, students should be prepared to do substantive research and writing.


Students will receive 3 credits which will be graded Pass-Fail-Honors. Students must devote 10-12 hours per week to the placement and attend a biweekly two-hour class.


The class will explore issues related to health care. It will provide the opportunity to meet with attorneys involved in a variety of health care-related practices. It will also include discussions of some current legal issues regarding health care and a space to reflect on, and discuss with other students, the health care and lawyering issues raised by your practicum experiences. 


Students should indicate, at the time of pre-registration, their placement preferences. Particularly since some placements have additional requirements please indicate multiple possibilities for placements you would accept.


Note that some government placements require background checks; if you are assigned to one of those placements you must contact the placement promptly to begin this process so it is completed before spring semester classes begin. (Note also that some of these placements are open only to US citizens, or citizens and green card holders; if this may be an issue for you please check with the placement before sending me your preference list.)


If you are interested in a placement at a private law firm, you should provide me a resume concurrently with your placement preferences. The firms and I will coordinate in choosing their intern. I want to stress that these are internships, not clerkships, and they carry no expectation of permanent employment at the firm.


While I have expanded the number of placement opportunities, there is no guarantee that every student who registers will be able to be matched with a placement. In doing the matches, I will be guided by the stated preferences of those placements that have asked to participate in this process, the preferences of the students and, on occasion, the quality of the "match" between a placement and the skills and interests of students. If there are more applicants than placements the order in which you preregistered will be a significant, but not determinative, factor in who is accepted for a placement. (If you are not accepted, I will work with the administration to ensure that you are not disadvantaged in attempting to find a replacement course.) I will notify you of your placement match as soon as possible after the end of preregistration.



General Information


Class Attendance:  Mandatory


Goals Statement: Each student must complete a statement of goals for their internship. A copy of this goal statement should be kept and referred to periodically. Please review the Personal Learning Plan, as a guide to what should be in your Goals Statement. Within the first two weeks of class you should try to meet with your supervisor to discuss their expectations for you and your goals and how you expect to meet them. The Goals Statement  that you provide to me should reflect the results of that discussion as well as your own goals.


Information Sheet:  Students are required to fill out an information sheet with up to date information about their placement site.


The Goals Statement, and the Information Sheet are due to me, by email, by noon on January 30th.



Journals:  Each student should keep a journal of their placement experiences and forward the entries to me (by e-mail) at least once every two weeks. (I strongly urge you to write your journal entries more frequently.) This should be primarily reflective of what you are learning and how your placement is progressing in light of your goals and expectations, not a detailed “this is what I did today” diary. Entries should be narrative in form. (However it should include at the beginning a report of the hours you spent at the placement since the previous report.) The extent of journal writing for a given week’s activities would typically run between ˝ page and a page. Please read Ogilvy, et al., Learning from Practice (available at Law Library Circulation Desk) chapter 6 which describes the goals and appropriate content of a journal.


The journal entry half-way through the term (on or about March 20th) should be somewhat more extensive and should be preceded by a meeting with your supervisor, who can provide you with his/her views on how you are doing and how you might improve. The meeting is also an opportunity for you to discuss with the supervisor how the placement experience is fitting with your goals.



Final Essay Assignment: During the last few weeks of your internship, please review the written and other significant work you have done or participated in, in order to prepare an evaluation of your experience.  The final essay is due on the last day of classes.


Supervisor Evaluation: Your supervising attorney will be sent an evaluation form to complete. They should, hopefully, discuss this evaluation with you. A copy of the evaluation sheet is attached for your information.