Pro Bono Students Help with Driver's License Restoration and Immigration over Spring Break; 3L Class Reaches 100% Participation

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Pro Bono Students

UNC School of Law students in the Pro Bono Program traveled during their spring break to the North Carolina coast and to Georgia to provide free legal assistance to underserved communities.

“Our students are supervised by and have the opportunity to learn from experienced attorneys,” says Allison Standard '09, director of pro bono initiatives at Carolina Law. “Students on these trips have a chance to do real, hands-on legal work with real clients.”

Driver’s license restoration

In Wilmington, North Carolina, a group of 10 students partnered with the New Hanover County District Attorney’s office, the N.C. Justice Center’s Second Chance Mobility Project and the N.C. Pro Bono Resource Center to help clients working to restore their driver’s licenses. Most of the 17 cases involved clients who had failed to appear in court or were unable to pay fines for minor traffic offenses.

Will Hayman 1L
Will Hayman 1L

“Suspended licenses limit someone’s ability to maintain employment or manage childcare,” said first-year law student Will Hayman. After reviewing records, interviewing clients and drafting motions for relief, Hayman presented two cases to the assistant district attorney, and secured consent orders for both clients.

“I feel really good about it,” says Hayman. “I feel I did my job and I feel like it’s going to make a huge impact on their lives.”

Sixteen of the 17 clients were able to get relief because of the project.

Helping detainees

Two hours south of Savannah, eight Carolina Law students spent the work week with the Southern Poverty Law Center's Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative in Folkston, Georgia, to help detainees seeking bond and parole. 

Students partnered with attorneys to work with more than 30 individuals seeking asylum from countries from across the world. Each student managed one parole request case and completed screening interviews and case acceptance meetings for detainees seeking representation. 

After work one evening, students had dinner with Carolina Law alumni living in the area.

Rana Odeh 2L
Rana Odeh 2L

“Being able to connect with alumni in an intimate setting and far removed from school was really refreshing and meaningful,” said second-year law student Rana Odeh. “Hearing about life on the other side of law school left me comforted and energized to work hard, graduate, and lead a successful career to continue the Carolina Law legacy our alumni have created.”

Reaching a milestone

In addition, 32 students worked remotely on pro bono projects that included research, file review and drafting pleadings for legal services organizations, government agencies and private firms. The completion of these projects meant another exciting milestone for the program that has already reached a big one this year: for the first time in the program’s 20-year history, all 219 third-year law students, or 100 percent of the graduating class, have participated in a pro bono project.

“Our goal is to instill a lifelong commitment to public service in our graduates,” says Standard. “Whether our alumni are working as public defenders, in a private firm or as in-house counsel, taking time to offer their legal expertise to those in need is an invaluable way to give back to our community.”

-March 23, 2018

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