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

Monday, March 14, 2011

As a first year law student with only one semester of legal education under my belt, I wondered if I had the tools to contribute in a legal office with real clients and issues. Although I have worked in a law office before, I had never felt as instrumental in the outcome of a process that others were relying on. At the Pro Bono Project in New Orleans, I worked on succession (estates) cases for families whose relatives had died intestate. In one particular case, the decedents were born in the late 19th century, which meant that there were plenty of heirs who stood to inherit the property in question. However, most of them either didn't care, or were out of touch. That being the case, there were a small number of family members who were trying to settle the estate on behalf of all of the heirs.

Speaking with one of the family members brought to life the real problems that families and people face in the legal system. It was rewarding for me to see the assistance we can lend, and at the same time it was eye-opening to see the tremendous challenges that people in lower socio-economic positions face when dealing with legal issues. The trip was gratifying on a person level for me, and I hope that I was able to contribute to the overall assistance that the Pro Bono Project lends to those in need in New Orleans.

Alec Covington


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