Though many lawyers choose to specialize in one area of legal practice, specialties often cross paths. Gonzaga Law student Alain Huynh is spending his summer learning the intricacies of many of these crossovers at Columbia Legal Services, working as the Washington State Bar Association Peter Greenfield Senior Advocacy Intern. While at CLS, Huynh has been working on projects that cross the lines of healthcare law, elder law, and even city planning.
Focusing on Basic Human Needs
The Peter Greenfield Senior Advocacy Internship is a twelve-week position funded by the WSBA Elder Law section, Washington State Bar Foundation, and Gonzaga University School of Law. Huynh, as the recipient of the internship, is spending his summer at Columbia Legal Services. CLS is a nonprofit law firm that focuses on “protecting and defending the legal and human rights of low-income people.” Huynh is assigned to the Basic Human Needs project group, which works to ensure that the laws and rules of Washington State help ensure the existence of the basic safety net for those living in poverty, particularly senior citizens and those with disabilities.
A Multitude of Projects
In just the few weeks Huynh has been working, he has been of assistance to a variety of projects in the Basic Human Needs group of CLS. These projects include:
- Helping undocumented immigrants who have been denied state-mandated Charity Care receive the basic medical services they are legally entitled to.
- Mitigation between the City of Seattle and residents of the International District regarding a developing street car line that may potentially disrupt access to the District’s low-income community centers, health facilities, and adult-living homes.
- Attending stakeholder meetings involving the Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance, an ordinance that requires landlords and those in the home rental industry to comply with certain safety requirements that ensure that tenants have a safe living environment.
- Developing a brochure/pamphlet explaining what a Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) is.
Experiencing the Law from Various Perspectives
Huynh originally applied for the internship because of his interest in healthcare law, recognizing that the elderly are often an at-risk group in health care cases. The internship is proving much more than just a focus on healthcare-related cases, however. As Huynh says, “Whether it’s simply attending intern brown-bag lunches or enrolling in interesting CLEs, my time at CLS has introduced me to different people and things that I know are prevalent in the legal profession—things I had yet to experience as a law student… I can’t specify exactly how I want to be involved in the healthcare legal field [after law school], but it’s great nevertheless to get exposure to so many interrelated issues and topics.”