By: Prof. Phil Broadhead
UM law students who participated in the UM Clinical Program’s Pro Bono Initiative event held in Greenville on September 16, 2015, are Monique Caples (PBI Student Coordinator), Briley Elliott (PBI Student Coordinator), Macy McCarty, Laci Moore, Paul Pritchard, Jake Reed, and Quinton Thompson. Ten local MS Bar attorneys volunteered for the Pro Se Day (not including UM Pro Bono Initiative Director Tiffany Graves and Gayla Carpenter-Sanders, the Executive Director/General Counsel of the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project). Twenty-four clients were assisted by these students and lawyers with uncontested divorces, name changes, and other matters pending before Washington County Chancery Judge Marie Wilson.
The PBI is a unique in-house pro bono teaching program that seeks to give law students practical legal experience and networking opportunities through their participation in daylong legal clinics, work on policy initiatives, and engagement in pro bono opportunities with in- and out-of-state nonprofit legal organizations. Annually, 100–plus student volunteers assist over 500 clients. The Mississippi Supreme Court supports the Pro Bono Initiative through its Access to Justice Commission (see https://courts.ms.gov/news/2015/09%2010%2015legal%20clinic%20Washington%20County.pdf). The event would not be possible without the assistance of the volunteer lawyers who generously give of their time to the clients who would otherwise go unrepresented.