Brooke Silverthorn (J.D. ’03) has been named co-director of the Health Law Partnership (HeLP) Legal Services Clinic in the College of Law and assistant clinical professor. Silverthorn joined the College of Law faculty last summer to teach in the health law program and help launch the online master of jurisprudence degree program.
“Brooke’s longtime interest in clinical legal education, and her prior work experience and passion for children’s health and welfare issues makes her a perfect addition to the Health Law Partnership team,” said Lisa Bliss, associate dean of experiential education and clinical programs, clinical professor and co-director of the HeLP Clinic. “She brings dedication and enthusiasm to her work, and those qualities are already serving us well as we navigate the current challenges of teaching our clinic and serving our clients during COVID-19 restrictions.”
Silverthorn has served as both an attorney and a policy advocate for children and children’s issues for 15 years in various sectors, including government, non-profit, and education. She represented the Gwinnett County Department of Family & Children Services for eight and a half years in cases involving child removals and termination of parental rights. She also worked in Denver at the National Association of Council for Children and she was an adjunct professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
“Honestly, it’s a dream role for me,” Silverthorn said. “It combines my experience in advocacy for children with my passion and commitment to working with the next generation of lawyers to improve the quality of representation and access to justice for children.”
Law students who take the HeLP Clinic course provide legal assistance to low-income patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta who need Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Law students collaborate with medical students at Emory University and Morehouse School of Medicine to prepare briefs and present cases in court. Over the last 13 years, the clinic has recovered more than $1.2 million in SSI benefits for families in need.
Silverthorn has already begun collaborating with HeLP’s medical partners, including medical director, Dr. Robert Pettignano, to prepare for the fall semester. They are working to continue the clinic’s mission of research and scholarship related to the social determinants of health as well as to increase the impact of HeLP’s unique, interprofessional approach to serving clients.
“One of the great things about clinics in general is that it gives students some context for the concepts they learned in their 1L courses,” Silverthorn said. “It helps the law to ‘come alive.’ So, at the very least, I want every clinic student to leave with a better understanding of both the enormous responsibility and opportunity they will have as lawyers to impact real life issues.”
Georgia State Law has a long history of excellence in health law. The health law program is ranked No. 2 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and the clinical training program is ranked No. 27. For more information visit law.gsu.edu/clinics.
Written by Kelundra Smith