Nurses' Roles in Healthcare Legal Partnerships


  • Eileen P Weber University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Bryan Polkey University of Minnesota, Twin Cities



healthcare legal partnership, medical-legal partnership, social determinants, nurse, attorney, legal aid, low-income


In health care settings that serve low-income populations, healthcare legal partnerships (HLPs) are becoming a necessity in order to maximize clients’ opportunities for health. Medical-Legal Partnerships (MLPs), also known as Healthcare Legal Partnerships (HLPs), add the power of law to reduce individual legal barriers and negative social determinants of health. The terms HLP and MLP are used interchangeably, though HLPs can and do include specialties and disciplines, such as dentistry, nursing, and social work, beyond those usually considered medicine. HLPs offer academic centers opportunities to enhance collaborative practice by jointly educating law and healthcare students for partnership. In the U.S., nurses are the most trusted profession in society and the largest healthcare profession. Nursing can use its diffuse presence and power to actualize the growing research suggesting HLPs can help society achieve the concurrent goals of improved care, better health, and lower per capita healthcare costs.


Issued June 10, 2016. The following citations should be included in the reference list:

Beck, A. F., Klein, M. D., Schaffzin, J. K., Tallent, V., Gillam, M., & Kahn, R. S. (2012). Identifying and treating a substandard housing cluster using a medical-legal partnership. Pediatrics, 130(5), 831-838.

Klein, M. D., Beck, A. F., Henize, A. W., Parrish, D. S., Fink, E. E., & Kahn, R. S. (2013). Doctors and Lawyers Collaborating to HeLP Children: Outcomes from a Successful Partnership between Professions. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 24(3), 1063-1073.

Nightingale, F. (1859). Notes on Nursing. London: Duckworth

Pettignano, R., Bliss, L. R., Caley, S. B., & McLaren, S. (2013). Can access to a medical-legal partnership benefit patients with asthma who live in an urban community? Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 24(2), 706-717.




How to Cite

Weber, E. P., & Polkey, B. (2016). Nurses’ Roles in Healthcare Legal Partnerships. Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies, 3(1).