Student-run Legal Aid Services Looking for Volunteers
Believing that actions speak louder than words, law students at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis are putting their education to use even before graduation, providing free legal service to the local communities of Indianapolis. The recently founded Indiana University Student Outreach Clinic Legal Services (IU-SOC) harnesses the volunteer power of students from the law school, as well as the Indiana University School of Medicine, Butler College of Pharmacy, and Indiana University School of Social Work.
Professor Fran Quigley who supervises the group says, “"I have never been more proud of our university than I am when watching medical students and law students working side by side to serve our neighbors who struggle for access to health and justice. The fact that this is a student-initiated and student-led program just makes it all the more special."
The group’s mission statement says, “ Law is about more than statutes or rules. Law is about people, our daily life, and our society. Law serves no one but us. The reason why we decided to pursue a career in the legal profession and to come to law school varies from one to another. However, the common stake we all have in one another is our calling in life: a sincere wish to dedicate ourselves to people and society. We realize that practicing law is more than just a job, but a privilege which provides us the capacity to make a difference in another’s life, an opportunity to help people who need help, and a prospect to make someone’s life better.”
Beginning in the Fall of 2010, law students Todd Hassee, Kim Opsahl, Laramie Paras, Jay Parks, Yen-Chia Chen, Eric T. Hom and Jennifer M. Rosser formed a steering committee for IU-SOC Legal Services and prepared to launch legal service under the supervision of Professor Quigley. “We have a good team,” said Rosser, “this clinic is going to be a huge resource to this area.” After a whole semester of preparation, the steering committee was ready and excited to launch IU-SOC Legal Services in the spring of 2011. “I’m glad to see the group taking concrete steps to begin to organize and launch the clinic into action,” said Parks.
By providing free legal service to the underserved of Indiana, IU-SOC Legal Services hopes to build up and develop a strong and long lasting connection with local Hoosiers. Through this pro bono opportunity, IU-SOC Legal Services also helps law students gain more hands-on experience of the law in the real world. “This is an exciting opportunity for us to develop an important community resource while developing our skills,” Opsahl said.
Not only are more student volunteers needed, alumni and friends are needed as supervising attorneys. “ Volunteering is a fundamental part of the legal profession,” says Chen. “IU-SOC Legal Services provides every law student an opportunity to give back to our society and a practical education on how to apply what is learned in the classroom to the real world. Most important of all, the real joy of the legal profession is to share and utilize our expertise to help people in need. “
IU-SOC Legal Services will launch their next outreach service on March 5, 2011 from noon to 2 p.m. Volunteers are welcome! Students participating in IU-SOC Legal Service will receive pro bono hours. If you would like to join or have any question about IU-SOC Legal Services, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.