Public Health Law Clinic

Through course work, students will learn about the impact of public health on the development of constitutional and tort jurisprudence and the interplay between federal, state and local public health agencies. We will examine the impact of preemption, public health ethics, epidemiology, and other factors on the development of public health laws. Students will understand the legislative and regulatory processes, particularly in Maryland, through which an idea becomes a law. Students will read and engage in discussion about how to determine the proper or effective path to secure public health policy. We will engage in discussions of social justice within the public health realm and identify particular policy options to decrease inequality and enhance justice in public health practice.

Skills training will include learning to critically evaluate social science research, advocate for legislative or regulatory change, present legal material to non-lawyer audiences, and work within coalitions to create sound public health policy. Students will assist the Network for Public Health Law—Eastern Region in providing technical legal assistance to public health practitioners and their counsel as well as legislators and advocates at the national, state and local level. Assistance will be provided on a broad range of public health issues but with a particular focus on environmental health, injury prevention and food safety. Students will also provide similar assistance on tobacco, cannabis, injury prevention and problem gambling issues to Maryland state and local public health officials, legislators and advocates through the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy.

Technical legal assistance may be in the form of brief telephone or e-mail communication after quick research or may consist of significant legal research, consulting with experts, and preparing substantial written documents. Students may produce fact sheets, draft legislation and supporting materials, create toolkits, or draft amicus curiae briefs. This work may be supervised by attorneys in the Network and the Legal Resource Center.

Students who enroll in this course are required to attend Law Practice Orientation held before the start of the semester.

Key to Codes in Course Descriptions
P: Prerequisite
C: Prerequisite or Concurrent Requirement
R: Recommended Prior or Concurrent Course