Elder Financial Justice Clinic

Course Description

The Elder Financial Justice Clinic (EFJC) provides free legal representation to seniors who have been the victims of financial exploitation. The Clinic is part of the University of Illinois College of Law. Second- and third-year law students provisionally admitted to practice in Illinois under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711 work under the supervision of the Clinic director, Matt Andres, who is an experienced attorney and a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law. Together they represent and advocate for victims of elder financial exploitation and work to prevent financial abuse of seniors throughout Illinois.

The EFJC’s external goals are: 1) to provide outstanding direct representation to elderly victims of fraud; and 2) to accelerate legislation, regulation, and community awareness efforts in order to increase prevention and minimize victim impact of elder financial fraud.

As a student in the EFJC, you will serve as the attorney for elderly victims of fraud under the supervision of Professor Andres. You will learn to interview and counsel clients, and you will work with them to solve their legal problems and otherwise advocate for them. You will face real ethical dilemmas, and you will learn and get to use investigation, litigation, and negotiation skills. You will be the primary contact person for your clients, opposing attorneys, and the court, and you will appear at all court dates in your cases if you are eligible for Senior Law Student Certification under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711. 

Your work in the clinic will synthesize what you have learned in your other law school classes and will show you how the topics you have studied in law school thus far intersect in the practice of law. Although the clinic aims to help the aging population in Illinois, the cases we handle in the EFJC are primarily tort and contract cases, and the skills you will learn are transferable to all types of legal practice, making the clinic excellent preparation for students hoping to practice any type of law. Ultimately, the goal of the EFJC with regard to you as a student will be to make you practice ready when you leave the clinic.

The EFJC also will include a classroom component, and you will need to prepare for and attend all class sessions. In the clinic seminar you will explore the legal theory that underlies the work you do in the clinic, learn subject-specific information about aging and various forms of fraud, work as a group to prepare yourself and other students for court proceedings, and share your experiences with other students to enhance the collective learning experience.

The EFJC is the first law school clinic in the country to focus on the issue of financial exploitation of the elderly. As a student in the EFJC, you will be a pioneer in clinical legal education and will have an opportunity to develop expertise in an area of the law that is gaining attention and growing in popularity. You will also have a chance to help establish the clinic as a leader in Illinois and nationally in the area of elder financial abuse. 

Prerequisites:  Eligibility for certification under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711 license which requires, among other things, completion of 45 semesters credits prior to the semester; is expected for all 3L students and for all 2L students during the spring semester.   Eligibility for 711 certification may be waived by the professor only in extraordinary circumstances.

Evaluation: Students will be evaluated based on performance in class and on case assignments and projects.

Information for Clients Seeking Legal Representation

Types of Financial Exploitation

Financial exploitation may take different forms, and no two cases are exactly alike. Below is a non-exclusive list of some of the types of fraud the Elder Financial Justice Clinic handles.

  • Misappropriation of funds by family members or caregivers
  • Mail, phone, or email scams
  • Unnecessary or incomplete work by service providers
  • Predatory mortgage lending
  • Investment fraud

If you believe you are a victim of financial exploitation, even if your matter is not of a type appearing on the above list, please contact the Elder Financial Justice Clinic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who qualifies for our services?

The Elder Financial Justice Clinic provides legal services primarily to financial abuse victims over 60 years of age. However, other victims of financial abuse are encouraged to contact the Elder Financial Justice Clinic as other cases may be taken if resources allow.

Is there a fee for clinic services?

No, the Clinic does not charge clients it represents.

Is there an income limitation?

There is no income limit that clients have to meet to obtain services. However, we prioritize assisting individuals with low income and few assets.

Are there geographical restrictions?

The Elder Financial Justice Clinic is willing to work with clients throughout the State of Illinois.

What work does the Clinic do besides providing direct representation to financial abuse victims?

The Elder Financial Justice Clinic also advocates for legal reforms to protect seniors from financial exploitation and provides community education to seniors to prevent financial abuse. We welcome calls from organizations that would like to partner with the Clinic on law reform or community education efforts.

How do I contact the Elder Financial Justice Clinic?

The best way to contact the Clinic is to call (217) 244-9494. The remainder of our contact information is:

Elder Financial Justice Clinic
University of Illinois College of Law
504 East Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, Illinois 61820
(217) 244-9494
law-clinics@illinois.edu

Elder Financial Justice Clinic - 2016 Report