Pro Bono Initiative Wins Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project’s Beacon of Justice Award

By: Prof. Phil Broadhead

The University of Mississippi School of Law’s Interim Dean, Deborah Bell, received the Beacon of Justice Award on September 10, 2015, from the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyer’s Project on behalf of her work with the law school’s Pro Bono Initiative (PBI). The PBI was formally launched by the UM Clinical Programs in August of 2011 to address unserved clients who cannot afford simple legal services. Using experiential legal education to give law students both interviewing and document-drafting training, along with an opportunity to serve the courts and indigent citizens at “Pro Se Day” legal clinics conducted in five north Mississippi county seats, the PBI attempts to bridge the gap for their clients. “It has been an honor to partner with the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Program, and I appreciate this recognition from an organization I admire deeply. The MVLP is helping to close the justice gap for low-income Mississippians in a meaningful way,” Dean Bell said.

MVLP staff and award recipients.

MVLP staff and award recipients.

Dean Debbie Bell with Gayla Carpenter-Sanders, executive director of the MVLP.

Dean Debbie Bell with Gayla Carpenter-Sanders, executive director of the MVLP.