For the Good of the Gulf: UNC Law Winter/Spring Break Pro Bono Project

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Work

The work that we are doing for the New Orleans Pro Bono Project involves successions. In order to receive settlements or government aid for damages resulting from Katrina, clients have to prove they own the affected property.

Many of the properties in New Orleans are historic homes that have been passed down through generations. The problem that we are addressing arises when the legal owner of the property dies and there is no succession opened to legally transfer the property to their heirs. The resulting problem is that when people go to get money for their recovery, they are turned away because they are not legally recognized as the owner of the property. This problem disproportionately affects low-income residents because it costs money to open a succession and it may result in tax obligations.

Many intricate issues arise while we are trying to figure out these successions. The law firm of Kilpatrick Stockton, who has supported our efforts from the very beginning, has again sent two of its attorneys - Brian Corgan and Maria Baratta - down to help supervise us. Our supervising attorneys have been an amazing help in resolving the complex issues that pop up. Pictured above, Kilpatrick Stockton attorney and Tulane alum Brian Corgan helps UNC Student Julie Zibulsky go over the pleadings she has drafted.

The work is intricate, challenging, and often frustrating but we are figuring it out together.


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