It's the end of the semester and Barry University School of Law sent three of its best and brightest - Kenneth Ejene, Mylika Morton and Stacey Schwartz - to The Pro Bono Project during the week of Memorial Day, May 26 to 29.
We love having students in the house to give them hands on experience, expose them to many different types of legal issues and public service law, as well as an understanding of Louisiana Law and how it differs from other states.
While there, the three students had the opportunity to work with Chief Legal Office Linton Carney, staff attorneys Chris Coty and Jesse George and staff paralegal Zakiya LaGrange, and longtime volunteer and newly-barred attorney Ona Sanders, as well as interacting with Executive Director Rachel Piercey and Intake Coordinator Robin Roper.
From research on a difficult mortgage foreclosure case to a mini divorce workshop serving 10 clients, to going to court to file divorce petitions, working at a bankruptcy clinic, and going to Juvenile Court, the students got a chance to test drive some of what they have learned from their course work. Here's what they had to say about their experience at The Project.
Kenneth Ejene, JD Candidate 2016
I am very appreciative of the blessing and opportunity to have participated as a volunteer legal assistant with The Pro Bono Project in New Orleans. My experience here has been outstanding, in part because of the excellent staff that I have had the privilege to learn from and work with and other volunteer attorneys and law students who also volunteered as Legal Assistants. In addition to The Pro Bono Project’s excellent staff, working for the great citizens of New Orleans has also contributed to my outstanding experience. I have learned a new level of resilience from the citizens of New Orleans because despite the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina that still impact the people, New Orleans has been welcoming and has graciously allowed for me, with The Pro Bono Project to lift a burden in their lives through our service. Thank you to The Pro Bono Project, and most especially, thank you New Orleans!
Mylika Morton, JD Candidate 2017
I count it as a joy and a pleasure to have had the opportunity to volunteer with The Pro Bono Project for the past week. This experience has demonstrated to me the vast need for legal representation for all segments of society. I had the opportunity to gain hands on experience, assisting Zakiya with divorce petitions. I also enjoyed assisting Linton in assessing and responding to unique applicant requests. Accompanying Jesse to Juvenile Court and observing his bankruptcy clinic were the most impacting facets of this experience. He helped to empower and give a voice to the most vulnerable members of our society with his legal service and advising. This experience has prompted me to commit to offering pro bono service wherever my career takes me. It is my sincere desire to visit The Pro Bono project again!
Stacey Schwartz, JD Candidate 2016
Volunteering here was an excellent opportunity to gain hands on experience with legal work, as well as an opportunity to gain a better understanding of New Orleans as a whole. As someone from another state, it was interesting to learn more about the population and culture of New Orleans, while also learning about how Louisiana law is different from other states. While volunteering I was able to meet with clients, prepare documents for divorce proceedings, and even go to the court house to file the documents I prepared. All of the staff with The Pro Bono project was welcoming, friendly, and truly dedicated to the mission of the organization. I felt like my time was truly appreciated and that I helped make a difference in the community. The Pro Bono Project is a great organization for those in need of legal help, and I am glad I had the opportunity to lend a helping hand!