Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy

The Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy (LRC) at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law provides pro bono technical legal assistance on a wide-range of public health issues, including tobacco regulation, injury prevention, and reduction of obesity and hypertension. Established in 2001, the LRC offers legal guidance to state and local governments, legislators, non-governmental organizations, health advocacy groups, and Maryland residents. The LRC is a grant-funded legal center that receives support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health. In addition, the LRC works closely with state agencies such as the Office of the Comptroller and the Office of the Attorney General, as well as members of the Maryland General Assembly.

About Us

The LRC conducted a needs assessment of 24 local health departments in Maryland, and uses this information to provide targeted legal resources and assistance throughout the State. Some of the resources provided include 50-state surveys, issue briefs, fact sheets, and research memoranda. Our staff is also happy to discuss avenues for policy change in the areas stated in our mission, though we are not permitted to lobby or provide legal advice or representation. The LRC remains current on state and national public health issues through its charter membership in the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium and the Institute for Healthiest Maryland, based at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Common LRC projects include:

  • Drafting and reviewing model laws and policies for state, local and national public health stakeholders
  • Providing legal guidance on public health issues including tobacco regulation, injury prevention and reduction of obesity and hypertension
  • Researching, evaluating and clearly explaining complex public health issues in easy-to-understand terms
  • Assisting local health departments and governments in Maryland develop and implement ordinances and policies that promote public health
  • Advising individuals or groups about their rights with respect to secondhand smoke in the workplace or in an apartment or condominium setting.
  • Presenting and providing educational materials on a wide-range of legal issues related to public health

Students enrolled in the Public Health Law Clinic provide valuable assistance to the LRC. Clinic will provide an experiential learning opportunity for law students representing local governments, community advocates and individuals with public health related legal issues.

Student responsibilities will include:

  • drafting state and local tobacco regulation, injury prevention, physical activity and healthy eating legislation;
  • assisting advocates in the support of such legislation or in opposition to legislation counter to public health goals, including drafting testimony for legislative sponsors and advocates and testifying before the General Assembly or local legislative bodies;
  • assisting state and local governments to adopt and implement public health related policies and regulations;
  • meeting with state and local government officials, as well as community advocates, for the purpose of advising on or assisting with the creation of new initiatives; and
  • researching public health and legal resources to determine the effectiveness of existing or proposed public health initiatives in Maryland and other states.

Public Health Law Clinic (6)

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.

For technical legal assistance or additional information on our services, please contact the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy at 410-706-0842 or

Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201


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