Pro Bono Program Update
Classes are back in session and the Pro Bono Program is getting back in full swing! The first Cancer Project clinic of the semester kicked off, bringing the project to thirty student volunteers and fourteen attorney volunteers to date this year. We’ve also expanded our Lawyer on the Line project with Legal Aid of North Carolina to include expungement, in addition to housing and employment issues. We are looking forward to all that the rest of the semester has to hold.
The program was also recently featured for its role in supporting a costal storm resilience project facilitated by Professor Hornstein, giving students the chance to both contribute to OMB hearings and a keynote address at the World Bank and present directly to potential clients.
Finally, we'd like to draw your attention to a chance to get involved with the Program! The UNC Cancer Pro Bono Legal Project gives you an opportunity to supervise students executing advanced directives, including Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Living Will. You can get involved by signing up here and completing the hospital's volunteer requirements (detailed at the above link). Contact Brittany Brattain at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
If you would like to know more about the program or the photographs you see here, please feel free to visit our website. Thank you for your continued interest in the Pro Bono Program!
Pro Bono Alumni Outreach Coordinator
Student Group Spotlight
Community Legal Project
Description of Group:
The Community Legal Project (“CLP”) is a pro bono opportunity for law students at UNC and Duke. CLP is a program run by the Compass Center for Women and Families that is meant to provide legal insight to members of the community in Orange County who often lack the economic resources for paid legal services.
What do your current Pro Bono projects look like?
Law students meet with community members who are seeking advice in the area of family law and landlord and tenant law. Students meet with these individuals for an initial consultation, draft a memorandum with the supervision of a volunteer attorney, and meet them two weeks later for a follow-up appointment. The goal is to assess the issue of the community member and return in two weeks to provide them with legal information and a step in the right direction.
How has your Pro Bono work benefited your members?
Students who get involved are able to gain more experience in the areas of one-on-one legal consultation, client counseling, legal research and legal writing. Moreover, many volunteers are often taken aback by the stories they have heard through the project and are surprised by the amount of gratitude that their work receives. With this experience, law students are able to see how just a little bit of their time can make a huge difference and that what may seem like common knowledge to them is a resource that much of the community doesn’t have access too. Hopefully after these experiences law students always remember to give back and lend their legal knowledge to pro bono work, no matter their eventual area of practice.
In particular, what skills do students acquire through the group’s Pro Bono projects?
Students get to meet with clients one-on-one and are provided with an experience that they will likely deal with on a daily basis with their own clients following graduation. Moreover, students conduct legal research on the issue presented to them and bolster their legal writing by writing a legal memo that the client gets to keep.
What challenges do you face in completing Pro Bono work? What strategies do you employ to overcome those obstacles?
The biggest problem in completing CLP is having a continuous flow of law student volunteers for the program. Two law students are needed each week to meet with clients. We have employed various outreach methods to reach law students.
Another issue facing the project is the lack of Spanish speaking attorneys needed to provide resources for our Spanish speaking clients. So many more opportunities are provided for our English speaking clients, even though we have many Spanish speaking clients that are in need of the same services. Without more Spanish speaking attorneys, the Spanish speakingcommunity is left at a great disadvantage compared to our English speaking clients in receiving legal services. We are currently working to reach out to more Spanish speaking attorneys who can help with the program.
Highlights from the Month!
Students work diligently on a range of projects at Pop-Up Pro Bono, which sets up students with very short-term Pro Bono projects, often their first experience with Pro Bono. Pop-Up will return on February 9th!
Brittany Brattain, 3L, and Alan Sides, 1L, consult on a document during a Cancer Project clinic. See the top of this email for how to get involved on upcoming clinics on February 17th, March 24th, and April 7th!