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

Monday, March 14, 2011

Helping to Resolve Property Issues

Today was a day of introductions at the New Orleans Pro Bono Project. We were introduced to Executive Director Rachel Piercey, who expressed her sincere gratitude of Carolina Law’s commitment to pro bono work in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. She spoke of the difficulty coordinating legal services in the wake of the storms, but expressed optimism as the city has come back.

We were also introduced to our supervising attorneys from Kilpatrick Townsend. We split into two groups and dove directly into case files. In my group, we began examining cases of intestate succession.

We were introduced to the different terminology of Louisiana’s Civil Code system as well. What I called a life estate for several months during my first semester of law school was now replaced by a legal usufruct, a similar legal instrument. We contacted the Jefferson and Orleans Parish Assessor’s Offices to determine property values at the time those decedents passed and completed affidavits to settle long-standing inheritance issues for our clients.

It’s very rewarding to know we’ll be solving an issue for a family in New Orleans. My particular case file involves the death of a parent in the immediate months after the storm. Five years later, an important issue of property ownership remains unresolved. It feels good to know you can help someone in that position, even as a first year law student.

Adam Parker


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