MHAS offers summer clerks a variety of legal work and experience designed to familiarize clerks with the range of legal problems faced by low-income people with mental health issues. The summer encourages broad exposure both to the law and to the institutions that serve our clients.
Range of Legal Work:
While MHAS is not a walk-in clinic, students will have immediate client contact through intake and follow up work, negotiation with third parties and investigation of issues presented by clients. All clerks are encouraged to participate in any existing clinics and to attend legal meetings such as school education meetings and client interviews. Legal research opportunities can include general research, writing of compliance complaints and other administrative pleadings and documents, demand letters, public education outreach materials, letters and contracts. All work is done under the supervision of an attorney. MHAS’s office environment is casual and attorneys operate with an open-door policy encouraging frequent contact, questions and discussion with clerks.
Introductory “Law-in-a-nutshell” Trainings:
MHAS begins the summer with a series of morning/breakfast “nutshell” trainings on topics students are likely to face during the summer. These include mental health law, working with difficult clients, special education law, housing and juvenile hall work.
Students have the opportunity to visit several courts in action and speak with local judges. Court visits typically include dependency court, delinquency court, unlawful detainer court and Department 95 mental health court.
Field Trip Opportunities:
Each summer numerous field trip and meeting opportunities are offered for students. Past summer tours have included Metropolitan State Hospital, residential treatment centers, mental health clinic facilities, and non-public schools. Meeting opportunities have included visiting jail mental health, juvenile hall joint dialogue, special education task force and health policy meetings so that students become familiar with the law at work in policy and institutional settings.
Brown Bag Exchanges:
MHAS organizes discussion opportunities, often over lunch, at which the attorneys and law clerks at two or more organizations get together to talk about issues of concern to law students, e.g., career paths, interviewing skills, resume problems, fellowship strategies, etc.
In order to encourage a collegial working environment, MHAS offers clerks participation in a range of social activities. Past activities have included an executive director barbeque, the public interest bowling tournament, a Hollywood Bowl night, and a board member dinner.
Resumes are accepted beginning in January. Please email cover letter, resume and writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org.