News and Information
May 16, 2019

Lawyers Engage with Medical-Legal Partnership

Lawyers from central Virginia joined VCU Health doctors, attorneys, and administrators on two tours of VCU Health’s Medical-Legal Partnership in Richmond this month.

Virginia attorneys from large companies, small firms, and law schools toured the Massey Cancer Center and new Children’s Hospital of Richmond to view up-close the facilities that bring doctors, patients, and lawyers together for a holistic care model that is growing in popularity at health centers across the country. 

Operating in a volunteer capacity since 2011, but made an official, staffed program last year, the Medical-Legal Partnership was featured in Virginia Lawyer magazine’s February 2018 issue.

On Tuesday, Allison Held, associate general counsel of the partnership, explained how legal resources located on site – in some cases, a lawyer’s office right across the hall from an exam room – meant breaking down the silos that create a barrier to access.

A lawyer can help a parent of an asthmatic child terminate a lease where a neighbor’s second-hand smoke is adversely affecting the child’s health or compel a landlord to provide a mold-free living environment. A lawyer can help a cancer patient forced into early retirement recover his possessions or home and receive benefits owed to him. 

Reducing outside stressors on patients getting health care has a number of benefits, noted Harry Thalhimer, chair of the MCV Foundation Board of Trustees, not the least of which is getting better faster. 

Thalhimer noted the need for financial contributions, but Held also listed a number of legal areas where the partnership could use pro bono help from lawyers:

  • Estate planning
  • Employment
  • Insurance
  • Public benefits
  • Consumer law
  • Housing
  • Financial planning
  • Family law
  • Immigration 

Lawyers interested in volunteering can contact the VSB’s Crista Gantz at or (804) 775-0522. The MCV Foundation collects donations for the partnership at


Photo (from top to bottom): Allison Held of the Medical-Legal Partnership; Sheryl Garland, director of the VCU Office of Health Innovation, highlighted health disparities in the Richmond region; Harry Thalhimer of the MCV Foundation Board.

Updated: May 16, 2019