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

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stepping Outside the Classroom

On the trip to New Orleans I was able to help the New Orleans Pro Bono Project on issues ranging from family law to bankruptcy. In just four days I was able to complete multiple no fault divorce petitions, meet with clients, and file each petition at the local courthouse. What struck me was the eagerness demonstrated by the clients and their trust in my ability to help them. There were no complaints and expressions of genuine joy at seeing progress toward a positive outcome of their cases. The need for pro bono family law work in New Orleans was clearly great, and although the staff at the Pro Bono Project were doing their best to meet the demand, there seemed a deficit in manpower. Because of this reality, our work was able to alleviate at least a fraction of their workload.

I was glad to be stepping outside the classroom, however momentarily, and into the real world of legal practice. I was similarly surprised to see the work that a group of 20+ law students could accomplish in less than a week. It made me proud to be surrounded by such a dedicated and selfless group of fellow students, and proud to be attending a school dedicated to giving back to those that need the help the most.

Michael Danielson


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