Medical-Legal Partnerships 


A medical-legal partnership is a practical intervention to help patients resolve social and environmental circumstances that contribute to health disparities and can be remedied through civil law, such as housing, food insecurity and immigration status. In a medical-legal partnership, a lawyer-in-residence (often from a civil legal aid organization or law school) works on-site at a healthcare setting to address civil legal needs that adversely affect health and drive healthcare costs. Medical-legal partnerships can also leverage their expertise to advance changes to state and local policies that have the potential to improve patient health and reduce healthcare costs.

Partner Organizations

Hospitals, health systems, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, primary care and behavioral health clinics, home health nursing programs, public health departments and state primary care associations partner with civil legal aid organizations, law schools and pro bono attorneys

Target Population

Varies by program

Care Team

Varies by program, but will include at least one lawyer, as well as healthcare professionals such as physicians, nurses and social workers. Some medical-legal partnerships are also staffed with non-lawyer legal professionals such as paralegals


1993 – present

Results/ Studies

Medical-Legal Partnerships At Veterans Affairs Medical Centers Improved Housing And Psychosocial Outcomes For Vets (Health Affairs, 2017)

Bridging Health Disparity Gaps through the Use of Medical Legal Partnerships in Patient Care: A Systematic Review (The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 2017)

Interprofessional Medical–Legal Education of Medical Students: Assessing the Benefits for Addressing Social Determinants of Health (Academic Medicine, 2017)


Varies by program


Program website

Addressing Social Determinants Of Health Through Medical-Legal Partnerships (Health Affairs, 2018)

Embedding Civil Legal Aid Services In Care for High-Utilizing Patients Using Medical-Legal Partnership (Health Affairs Blog, 2015)