Medha D. Makhlouf
Assistant Professor of Law
Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic
Law & Medicine
Public Health Law
I believe that teaching is a special kind of privilege, particularly for those of us who had demanding practices prior to entering academia. I appreciate the many opportunities I now have to reflect about the law. Developing and revising lectures for class leads me to identify problems I may have overlooked or not had time to address while in practice. In addition, every class discussion with motivated, energetic, and insightful students gives me a new perspective on the law.
In the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, students have a unique opportunity to inform theory with practice and practice with theory by representing real clients in important, life-changing matters. In addition to lecturing and leading class discussions, I teach students through close supervision of their casework.
My primary research interests lie at the intersection of health, law, and poverty. I seek to understand how laws impact the social determinants of health and efforts to achieve health equity. I am particularly interested in access to health care and other health-promoting public benefits in immigrant communities. We hear lots of compelling stories in the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic; through scholarship, I try to find ways to make these stories matter in the legal system.
Teaching clinical as well as doctrinal courses enables me to fully integrate my academic interests with service to the community. Through their work in the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, students not only perform the valuable service of ensuring that people living in our wealthy nation can satisfy their basic needs, they also learn firsthand how laws can intensify, perpetuate, or alleviate poverty and inequality. The Clinic prepares students to represent individuals in an imperfect legal system, and to push against unfair laws. Students should emerge from the Clinic with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors of the competent, ethical, and humane lawyer.
I was drawn to Dickinson Law by the close-knit community here. Among the faculty and staff, there is a true team effort to give our students “roots and wings” during their three years with us. Roots come in the form of a secure environment to grow and learn, a sense of belonging within the profession, and a built-in network. Graduates are sent forth on the wings of professional autonomy, ethics, and humility.
Professor Makhlouf discussing how the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic helps to meet the needs of immigrant communities at a Yale Law School symposium on building an academic agenda to enhance the practice of Medical-Legal Partnerships. (video of panel discussion)