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Rutgers School of Social Work & Rutgers Law Students Work Together to Make a Difference
December 8, 2015

After a conversation with Rutgers Camden Chancellor, Phoebe Haddon, about the benefits of different schools working together on projects, Herb Hinkle, adjunct law professor, was inspired to create a collaboration between Rutgers Law School and Rutgers School of Social Work. The goal was to create opportunities that would be mutually beneficial to both schools and their students. The schools put forth an idea to combine resources in field placement and to provide guest lectures to courses.

Second year Rutgers Law student, Allan Zhang, was instrumental during this collaboration. Prior to law school, Zhang received his MSW from New York University. Because of his strong background in the field of social work, Hinkle turned to Zhang to help facilitate the conversation of the two schools working together. Marla Blunt Carter, Camden Campus coordinator and assistant professor of professional practice, worked with Zhang and the School of Social Work to make this a successful reality.  Blunt-Carter utilized this opportunity to expose MSW and BASW students to the intersection of law and social work.

“Professor Hinkle’s expressed interest has led to some amazing work. Through shared lectures, support of student programs in the community and discussions with faculty to assist in the development of course presentations, our collaboration has been extremely successful,” says Blunt-Carter.

This semester the two schools collaborated on the following:

  • School of Social Work students provided patient care as a part of its Programs on Aging at Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, where law students drafted legal documents such as wills for these patients. While working together on mutual projects, the students were able to help identify exactly what the patient needed.  
  • There has been a series of lectures designed around this collaboration. Associate professor of professional practice and executive director of field education, Mark Lamar, spoke to Hinkle’s Elder Law class about Medicaid policy. He discussed the political development that led to the Affordable Care Act, giving students a higher level of insight on the policies that directly affect potential clients.
  • In return, Hinkle spoke to Lamar’s class about Medicaid planning and protecting families with an elder member. This helped to provide a better understanding on Medicaid from a legal standpoint.

Hinkle discusses how pro-bono work is a huge part of this collaboration, “By doing this, it reminds students what we instill in them at the Law School. We tell them to learn the ins and outs of the profession, reach your career goals, make some money, but don’t forget public service.”

The program has been very successful and beneficial so far. The schools look forward to working together next semester and continuing to better the program and strengthen the collaboration efforts.

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