Pro Bono Initiative

Learning Through Service

Spring 2014 Pro Bono Events

Posted on: May 6th, 2014 by tjbrock

If you are interested in participating in one or more of the events listed, please email a statement to OleMissProBono@gmail.com indicating the events for which you are volunteering. You will be notified by email if slots are available for the events and of the details for the event. All events listed below count toward the Pro Bono Credit Hour. See www. probono.olemiss.edu/pro-bono-credit-hour/ for requirements and enrollment information.

SAINT’S BREW PROJECT: TUPELO, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14 (OTHER DATES TBA). The Pro Bono Initiative will join forces with Saint’s Brew of Tupelo, a food ministry for homeless families and those at risk of homelessness. Students will interview Saint’s Brew clients to assess legal needs and work with local attorneys to develop a strategy for addressing those needs. One concern has been identified already. Program clients who are on probation are unable to pay the $50 monthly fee charged for meeting with their probation officers. They face imprisonment for failure to pay the fee. Join Professor Bell and Will McIntosh (Innocence Project) for the first visit and strategy session Friday, February 14 (leaving the law school at 6:30 and returning by noon). If you cannot attend the first session, please let us know if you are interested in the ongoing project.
CHARITY BALL FUNDRAISER. FEB. 22. The LSSB Community Service Committee is graciously hosting a masked ball as a fundraiser for the Pro Bono Initiative. The Pro Bono Initiative is supported solely by donations. Join us on February 22 at 7:30 at the Lyric for music, food, fun, and a silent auction and help support the program. For more information about donations, contact Meghan Coyne at mcoyne@go.olemiss.edu. To purchase tickets, go to thelyricoxford.com. To learn about the Pro Bono Initiative’s work, visit our Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/olemissprobono.

DESOTO COUNTY PRO SE CLINIC. TUESDAY, MARCH 4. Earn six hours credit toward the pro bono hour working with attorneys to assist pro se litigants prepare for court. Volunteers will interview clients, draft pleadings, provide counsel and advise, and network with attorneys. We leave the law school at 2:30 and usually return by 8:30.

PRO SE DAY: GREENVILLE, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19. Gain family law experience and network with practicing attorneys as court is in progress. Greenville volunteers assist self-represented litigants in completing pleadings and presenting family law matters to the Washington County Chancery Court. Students will interview and assist litigants under the supervision of the Washington County Bar’s experienced volunteer attorneys. The group will leave the law school at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 19, and return by 5:00 p.m. The trip will satisfy one-fourth of the time to gain a Pro Bono Credit hour.

LAW SCHOOL FAMILY LAW CLINIC: OXFORD, THURSDAY, APRIL 3. The Pro Bono Project and the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyer Project cosponsor this Legal Clinic. Volunteers assist low-income Mississippians with divorce, custody, guardianship, domestic violence, emancipation, and other matters. Professor Deborah Bell will provide a family law CLE training from 12:00 to 1:00. Student and attorney volunteers will assist clients after the CLE, from 1:00 to 4:00. You may assist clients without attending the CLE if you have a class conflict. If you are interested but cannot attend the entire program, let us know the hours that you are available.

LOW-INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE PROJECT: OXFORD, FEBRUARY 4 TO APRIL 8. Gain interviewing experience and assist low-income taxpayers. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Clinic helps low and moderate income Lafayette County residents with tax returns on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 3:30 to 6:30 at the Oxford-Lafayette Library. The program preserves much-needed dollars for families by securing tax refunds without charging the high fees that often accompany tax preparation. The Clinic needs volunteers to greet clients and gather basic information (no tax expertise needed). You need not be available at each session, but should be able to volunteer for several. For more information about this project contact Adrea Watford (aewatford@gmail.com) or Ben Weathers (rweather@go.olemiss.edu), in addition to OleMissProBono@gmail.com.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROJECT: OXFORD, SEMESTER-LONG. Assist UM students who experience sexual or dating violence or stalking by advising them of their rights and helping them understand the criminal justice process. Volunteers will work with attorney Lindsey Bartlett (UM Violence Prevention Coordinator and former Policy Director of the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence) to develop plain-language materials that explain the student conduct process and the criminal justice process. Volunteers will participate in presentations to student groups and to campus authorities responsible for responding, investigating, and assigning sanctions. Interested students should contact Lindsey Bartlett, Violence Prevention Coordinator, at Bartlett@olemiss.edu as well as OleMissProBono@gmail.com.

SCHOOLHOUSE TO JAILHOUSE PROJECT: OXFORD. Child advocates across the country are trying to stop the flow of children from school disciplinary proceedings into the prison system. The Pro Bono Initiative is partnering with Allison Korn’s Poverty Law Class and the Mississippi Center for Justice to assess the impact of Mississippi’s disciplinary codes on this serious problem. We are looking for students to gather and assess conduct codes from school districts using a rubric developed by former volunteers and Professor Korn’s class. Students will meet with attorneys from the Mississippi Center for Justice to develop a legislative strategy for adoption of laws to protect students’ due process rights and may have the opportunity to present findings on their research.

PBI AWARDS LUNCHEON. LAW SCHOOL, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 12:30. Volunteers – put the date on your calendar and join us for lunch catered by Taylor Grocery as a thank you for your service to the community.

CO-SPONSORED EVENTS. The Pro Bono Initiative will work with student organizations to help structure a pro bono event for your members. Please contact Professor Bell at dbell@olemiss.edu if your organization would like to explore this pro bono option. This semester, the PBI congratulates the Military Justice Society and BLSA for developing their own pro bono projects. PBI is proud to assist in their events:

Military Justice Society, Wills Day. Feb. 8, Grenada. MJS members will assist servicemen and women in the preparation of simple wills, powers of attorney, and health care directives under the supervision of military attorneys.

BLSA, Expungement Clinic. February 22 and March 21. BALSA, the Magnolia Bar, the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers’ Project, and the Pro Bono Initiative are sponsoring an expungement clinic for North Mississippi residents. The project includes an informational program and screening on February 22 and a clinic on March 21.