Judge Lora Livingston, panelist for the Public Service/Pro Bono Class
The Justice Center works with the Office of Student Life to organize public service-related programs for the societies during the academic year. Our goal is to teach students that pro bono and public service are expected and rewarding parts of every lawyer's career, and that there is a critical need to increase access to justice.
2008-2009 Public Service Initiative Activities:
1. Speaker on public service ideals during fall orientation - Jack Balagia (Exxon Mobil Corporation) addressed the entering class about the importance of increasing access to justice for disadvantaged groups.
2. Access to Justice Classes for incoming students - Society faculty advisors led panel discussions that included a judge, a private attorney involved in pro bono, and an attorney with a non-profit engaged in the delivery of legal services to the disadvantaged. The panelists discussed their roles in furthering access to justice. Participants included Judges Andy Hathcock, Darlene Byrne, Lora Livingston, and Steven Yelenosky, and attorneys Michael D. Marin (Vinson & Elkins), Jeff Edwards (Whitehurst, Harkness, Ozmun & Brees), Conor Civins (Fish & Richardson), Lisa Tsai (Diamond McCarthy), Kat Lewis (Advocacy, Inc.), Trish McAllister (Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas), Wayne Krause (Texas Civil Rights Project), and Nelson Mock (Texas RioGrande Legal Aid).
Green Society volunteering at the Inside Books Project
3. Fall Society Community Service Projects - Projects include the Austin State School (Sutton), the Inside Books Project (Bradford & Sheffield), Habitat for Humanity (McCormick), Casa Marianella and Posada Esperanza (Hodges), Cap City Kids (Cadena) and the Capital Area Food Bank (Hargrave & Green).
4. Food drive held in conjunction with the Society Games - This friendly competition, with a reward related to the Games going to the society contributing the most food, will benefit Caritas of Austin.
5. Ongoing Public Service Projects - The Justice Center will develop public service projects as well as pro bono projects that are law-related, or that are undertaken in conjunction with lawyer groups (or both). The Justice Center will also work with society leaders who would like to incorporate public service projects into their programming. The Justice Center will be available year-long to arrange projects of the type and scope leaders believe will match their society members' interests and schedules.