The Project hosted two law students from George Washington University Law School in mid-December. Nazanin Salehi and Frank Chang, both 1Ls, came with 30 colleagues as part of the school’s Gulf Recovery Network that places students with public interest law firms.
Nazanin and Frank helped with our backlog of letters from prisoners, even though The Project handles only civil cases, we still get over 100 inquiries from incarcerated people every year. The two students went through each letter to see what the problem was, and then determining the best referral resource, based on the type of problem.
They also got to sit in on a client interview with one of our volunteer attorneys who asked to use The Project offices to meet with her client. The interview went well, and Frank and Nazanin ended up signing as witnesses on a document the client needed.
"It was inspiring to see attorneys from small and large firms volunteering their hours to provide pro bono legal service to those who need civil legal service but cannot afford it, said Frank, who wants to work in a law firm. "My time at The Pro Bono Project taught me that working in the 'private sector' does not mean I cannot serve the public through pro bono work."
Nazanin, who wants to practice law in the civil rights or criminal defense sectors, said, "I've been to New Orleans a few times, and interned a couple places, but this was the first time I got to see how much great work the legal community here was really doing. It's incredibly motivating to see the enthusiasm with which The Pro Bono Project and attorneys around the area operate in order to accommodate those individuals who need civil legal help but cannot necessarily pay for it on their own."
This hands-on experience is invaluable to students who come to The Project year-round from law schools across the country. Many come already interested in public service law, but others who intend to work at a law firm or in a corporate environment, leave here with a better understanding of how they can incorporate pro bono service in their future law career.
Our thanks to George Washington University Law School for sending us Frank and Nazanin. Their time, efforts and enthusiasm on behalf of The Project and our clients is greatly appreciated.
Law schools or law students interested in volunteering at The Project during semester breaks should contact Linton Carney or at 504.581 4043 x 207.