Elder Justice AmeriCorps law student members in the AmeriCorps JD program will improve the lives of victims of elder abuse by providing legal assistance to older adult victims of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Law student members serving at organizations that host Equal Justice Works Elder Justice AmeriCorps Fellows will focus specifically on assisting the Fellows with responding to instances of elder abuse. These law students will help sites conduct outreach to other service agencies and to vulnerable elders, and will help their sites provide other necessary legal services to older adult clients who have been victims of abuse. The students will also assist attorneys with legal research, drafting briefs, outreach and intake screenings. Students in the program who are serving at organizations without a Fellow will serve in other areas of civil legal aid, including elder abuse issues as needed. These students will help to bring a greater awareness of elder abuse issues to locations where there are currently no lawyers available to provide elder justice services.
Members will help sites conduct outreach to other service agencies and to vulnerable elders, and will help their sites provide other necessary legal services to older adult clients who have been victims of abuse. The students will also assist attorneys with legal research, drafting briefs, outreach and intake screenings. Students in the program who are serving at organizations without a Fellow will serve in other areas of civil legal aid, including elder abuse issues as needed.
Community Need Addressed
Over 10% of seniors (60 and older) in the U.S., approximately 5 million people a year, experience elder
abuse such as neglect and financial exploitation (Lachs and Pillemer 2015). Only about one in 24 of
these five million instances of elder abuse are reported to authorities (Cornell Report 2011). Lower
income seniors are at highest risk, yet all seniors can be vulnerable both mentally and physically.
Seniors can face exploitation by scam artists, or even family members, who target them because of
home equity or other income. Sometimes caregivers fail to take care of basic health and human needs.
Seniors can also fall prey to instances of physical abuse. Unresolved abuse has severe consequences for victims and society as a whole, so this position will help to address the legal needs of these victims.
This service will improve lives by providing direct legal services to victims and enhancing public awareness of elder abuse,neglect and exploitation, thereby increasing referrals to appropriate authorities. The long-term goals are to reduce instances of abuse and to create a group of lawyers who will devote all or some of their
careers to addressing elder abuse.
Education award upon successful completion of service, Training
Members will receive hands-on training under the supervision of staff attorneys at their host organization. This service opportunity provides law students with real-world experience in legal aid delivery while allowing them to serve this critical unmet need in their community. They will also join the Equal Justice Works network as alumni at the end of their service.
Skills you will gain
timekeeping, public speaking, legal intakes, legal writing, client outcome reporting, data tracking.
Competencies You Will Develop
Demonstrate sensitivity and empathy, Listen to and consider others' viewpoints, Maintain open lines of communication with others, Speak clearly, in precise language and in a logical, organized and coherent manner, Write cleary and effectively
Creativity & Problem Solving
Able to identify and define the problem, Capable of generating possible solutions, Communicate the problem to appropriate personnel, Improvise, Provide relevant expertise, Select and implement well-considered solution
Derive consensus, Develop constructive working relationships and maintain them over time, Establish a high degree of trust and credibility with others, Interact professionally and respectfully with supervisors and co-workers, Stay positive and outcome oriented, Use appropriate strategies and solutions for dealing with conflicts and differences to maintain a smooth workflow
Accepts responsibility, Anticipate the consequences of decisions, Identify and prioritize the key issues involved to facilitate the decision making process, Involve people appropriately in decisions that may impact them, Quickly respond with a back-up plan if a decision goes amiss
Carefully consider which tools or technological solutions are appropriate for a given job, Consistently choose the best tool or technological solution for the problem at hand, Operate tools and equipment in accordance with established operating procedures, safety standards, and ethical guidelines, Seek opportunities to improve knowledge of tools and technologies that may assist in streamlining work and improving productivity
Able to prioritize various competing tasks, Create environment of contribution, Create plan of action, schedule tasks so that work is completed on time, Demonstrate the effective allocation of time and resources efficiently, Drive decision making, Set goals
Be pleasant, courteous, professional and respectful when dealing with internal and external customers or clients, Evaluate customer or client satisfaction, Honor the privilege of being able to work with and for those being served, Provide personalized, prompt, and efficient service to meet the requirements, requests and needs of customers, Recognize the importance of maintaining privacy and confidentiality of those being served, Understand and anticipate the needs of others, Understand the importance of one's role in the functioning of the organization, Understand the significance of maintaining a healthful and safe environment