Photo of Krista Selnau

Krista Selnau

  • Hosted by Legal Aid of Arkansas
  • Sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Walmart
  • Service location Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Law school Suffolk University Law School
  • Issue area Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Fellowship class year 2013
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Krista provided legal advocacy and outreach to low-income disabled children and their families at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) Hematology-Oncology clinic through a medical-legal partnership (MLP).

MLP is a critical component of family-centered care. Since legal detriments of health are among the most serious and solvable social barriers to patient health and well-being, and because it is unrealistic to supply an affordable lawyer for every patient, MLPs promote legal problem solving for the most vulnerable patients, including low-income children and their families, as a component of health care. The ACH Hematology-Oncology clinic is the primary clinic in Arkansas treating blood disorders and the only clinic in the state treating childhood cancer. With a continuing stream of patients, it is impossible for medical providers to identify and address every unmet legal need without a targeted screening system in place. Addressing these needs is significant to improving health.

Fellowship Highlights

  • Provided legal assistance to more than 250 low-to-moderate income patients and families coping with chronic and terminal illness at Arkansas Children’s Hospital
  • Trained social workers and medical staff on legal issues affecting patients and families, including SSI and other income supports, special education, guardianships, powers of attorney and employment rights
  • Developed an MLP self-help advocacy app with support from Walmart and Akin Gump
  • Organized two wills clinics for families at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, in which Walmart and Akin Gump attorneys participated on a pro bono basis
  • Launched a six-month pilot MLP at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to address and study the unmet legal needs of patients with sickle cell disease who recently transitioned from a pediatric care setting

What’s Next

Following her Fellowship, Krista became a staff attorney/MLP Coordinator at Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Augusta, Maine, where she founded and managed the Veterans Medical-Legal Partnership with VA Maine Healthcare System. She practiced veterans law, including discharge upgrades for veterans with PTSD or mental health conditions. She also coordinated Pine Tree’s veterans pro bono projects, including Military Mondays, a monthly legal clinic in partnership with Starbucks and the Maine State Bar Association, where she served as Co-Chair of the Veterans Law Section.

Krista now works as a Fellowships portfolio manager at Equal Justice Works, where she oversees Fellows and Fellowship sponsors on the East Coast.

Media

Sometimes Legal Aid Isn’t Enough: A Case for MLPs

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Host: The Legal Aid Society of Columbus

Sponsor: Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation

Purvi Patel

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Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Ambika Panday

Host: Greater Boston Legal Services

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Kassandra Gonzalez

Host: Texas Legal Services Center

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Texas Access to Justice Foundation

Current Fellow