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W&L's Black Lung Clinic Featured on WMRA

Timothy MacDonnell, associate clinical professor of law and director of the Black Lung Clinic at Washington and Lee School of Law, appeared on NPR affiliate WMRA’s “Virginia Insight” show on Thursday, Dec. 13, to discuss the work of the Black Lung Clinic.

Tim has called the clinic’s clients some of the hardest-working, most dedicated people he has ever met. And, he said, it is because of that dedication that those people are now “dying by inches.”

The Black Lung Clinic assists coal miners and their survivors who are pursuing federal black lung benefits. Law students, working with law faculty, represent the clients and evaluate claims, develop evidence, conduct discovery, depositions and hearings, and write motions, arguments and appellate briefs.

In attempting to collect benefits, miners and their survivors face formidable teams of lawyers, paralegals and doctors that the coal companies assemble to challenge these claims. The Black Lung Clinic has a success rate roughly five times the national average. Although the clinic is unable to represent every request for representation, it has represented about 200 clients since 1996.

Tim, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, is a former legal advisor to the Iraqi High Tribunal, Baghdad, Iraq, and a former special assistant United States attorney.

“Virginia Insight,” hosted by Tom Graham, is a live call-in show. Listen to the archive of Tim’s appearance below: