The NIU College of Law Health Advocacy Clinic (“Clinic”) is a medical-legal partnership clinic established in 2013 between Northern Illinois University College of Law, Hesed House, the second largest homeless shelter in Illinois, and Aunt Martha’s Health Center,  a comprehensive community health care and social services resource based in Illinois.

The goal of the Clinic is to provide specific legal services to patients of Aunt Martha’s who may be benefited by legal assistance.  Clients are referred to the Clinic by the health care providers at Aunt Martha’s, and may be members of the local community or clients of Hesed House.

The Clinic is located in Aurora, Illinois and shares the same space as the local Aunt Martha’s Center in the Hesed House Resource Center.

The Clinic was established in the fall semester of 2013 by NIU College of Law faculty member, Anita Maddali.  It began operations with three third-year law students — Sarmistha Banerjee, Emily O’Connor and Bailey Standish.  This blog is the students’ attempt to capture their experiences as they create a clinic from scratch.


The Clinic provides legal representation to clients, who are receiving health-related services from Aunt Martha’s, in order to address socio-environmental barriers affecting their health and stability.

The Clinic educates and trains NIU Law students to work collaboratively, develop and apply legal skills through client representation, and awaken in them a duty to use those skills to serve others.

The Clinic seeks to develop and sustain inter-disciplinary relationships among health care providers, social workers, lawyers and law students to holistically address client and patient needs.

The Clinic seeks to address systemic legal and socio-environmental barriers affecting clients’ health and stability through community and policy advocacy.


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