Two Clinic members, Ashely Washington and Evan Carney, along with sixteen other CSL students arrived in Biloxi Mississippi as part of he Charlotte School of Law Pro Bono Program’s spring break trip. For the past three years, the Pro Bono Program has teamed up with the Mississippi Center for Justice to provide student volunteers for the important work being done on the Gulf Coast. In return, the students are provided with practical experience and valuable insight into the world of public interest lawyering.
This year, the students were given the option to work on one of four “tracks,” or projects. One deals with the claims process for members of the community injured by the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. The students will have to opportunity to help with client intake interviews, preparing and filing claims, and performing research into the settlement agreement that’s currently being hammered out. A second track involves the Affordable Care Act, which is currently undergoing constitutional challenges in the US Supreme Court. Student in this project will work to educate Mississippians about the benefits of a state run healthcare system and generally educate low and no-income residents about free and low cost health care options currently available to them. The third track allows students the chance to help residents that can’t afford legal representation to clear up land title issues that arose during the confusion following Hurricane Katrina. And the final track has students deeply involved in researching potential legal challenges to the closing of the hugely successful Nichols Elementary School in one of the poorest sections of Biloxi.
We will post updates about the Clinic member’s chosen tracks over the next few days, but if you would like to keep up with all the students’ experiences on the trip head over the the CSL Pro Bono Blog at www.cslprobonoblog.wordpress.com. The Pro Bono Blog will also be updated with entries from two other pro bono trips, one to San Diego and one to Lebanon.