Fifty-one students from the University of Tennessee College of Law will work on twelve volunteer projects during this year’s spring break, providing pro bono legal services to the community in Knoxville and other nearby cities.
Through the UT Pro Bono program, students apply skills learned in the classroom to serve clients whose needs would not otherwise be met, while also learning about professionalism and ethics.
Law student Lucy Boateng, who worked with La Paz Immigration Services in Chattanooga during spring break last year, said she learned a lot from the experience.
“It not only gave me the opportunity to serve, but it also allowed me to see the effectiveness of advocacy when people are willing to go through all of the appropriate channels in order to protect their rights,” she said.
Three groups of students will spend their spring break providing legal assistance to people in other cities:
- In Fort Campbell, Kentucky, students will assist the Judge Advocate General’s Corps with its mission, as well as providing information to veterans and their families about laws of interest to that community.
- In Nashville, students will work with the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services to follow up with clients of its legal advice programs.
- In Chattanooga, students will assist the advocacy organization La Paz, assisting the area’s Latino community with citizenship applications.
Law student Patrick Morrison, who participated in the La Paz program last year, will serve as site leader for this year’s Chattanooga trip.
“We helped several families begin the process for applying for citizenship, and it truly was a unique experience for a law student because it was neat to be able to utilize some of the knowledge gained from the classroom in real life,” he said. “I greatly appreciated the opportunity to better a family’s livelihood while gaining practical legal experience.”
Meanwhile, many law students will stay in Knoxville to volunteer with local organizations during the break:
- Through Legal Aid of East Tennessee, students will assist attorneys in providing a wide range of civil and legal assistance and advocacy.
- UT students will be joined by a group of students from the University of Chicago to work with the Community Law Office to research legal issues faced by clients.
- Students participating in the Animal Law Project will tour the facilities of Horse Haven of Tennessee Inc., meet with its executive director, and assist in reviewing, researching, and revising its educational documents.
- In addition, some law students will perform research for nonprofit and legal service entities from the comfort of their homes, the beach, or the mountains.
Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, email@example.com)