Real Cases. Real Experience.
Justin Henry looks at damaged housing in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Photography: Crystal Moore
Jessica Cassidy and Brian Stage meet with clients at the Pearlington Resource Center.
Photography: Eden Harrington
Fifty UT Law students volunteered in the Gulf Coast region over winter break, January 6–11, 2008, providing assistance to organizations addressing residents’ post-Hurricane Katrina legal needs.
The Thurgood Marshall Legal Society organized nineteen students who joined law students from other schools in an effort coordinated by the National Black Law Students Association. The UT students volunteered with the New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation, meeting with potential clients and assisting with legal research for ongoing cases, and the Louisiana Justice Institute, where they worked in FEMA trailer parks collecting survey information and informing residents about their rights to HUD assistance. The NBLSA Rocky Mountain Region and Vinson & Elkins sponsored the trip.
Members of the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law’s student advisory board organized thirty-one students to travel to the Gulfport, Mississippi area. The students volunteered with the Gulf Coast Fair Housing Center, the Mississippi Center for Justice, and Turkey Creek Community Initiatives. The students researched fair housing law and the allocation of reconstruction funding, worked on neighborhood surveys and preservation projects, and helped with an evening legal clinic in an impoverished rural inland area affected by the hurricane. Justice Center faculty members Eden Harrington and Mary Crouter volunteered with the students. The Justice Center provided logistical and financial help.
“It is heartening that fifty of our students chose to spend part of their winter vacation on pro bono work with these worthy organizations,” said Eden Harrington, director of the Justice Center. “Students were clearly moved by the region’s continued devastation and the unmet legal needs of low-income residents in the area. The volunteer work was challenging and rewarding, and we plan to arrange similar trips in the future.”
Both efforts were coordinated through the Student Hurricane Network, a national association of law students dedicated to providing long-term assistance to communities affected by Hurricane Katrina, which matches student volunteer groups with nonprofit groups.
One of the groups in Gulfport, Mississippi worked with the Turkey Creek Community Initiatives. Students pictured here are (from left) Jessica Miller, Noam Greenspan, Jie Jiang, Edward Valdespino, Ade Shelley, Fuerza Linda Fraga, and Dave Mervis.
Members of UT Law’s Thurgood Marshall Legal Society, including Wintta Woldemariam, Anastasia Cunningham-Thomas, Sheria Smith, Tiffany Johnson, Renee Darter, Elizabeth Lockett, Amroh Idris, Justin Henry, Kenya Wells, Ja-Mes Sloan, Crystal Moore, Jessica Kemp, Angela Prince, Jaynacia Abraham, Toni Anderson, Kathryn Freeman, and Jennifer Braden, together with law students from around the country, at Tulane School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana. The students volunteered to help New Orleans residents solve legal problems in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Contact: Eden Harrington, Director of the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, UT Law, 512-232-7068, firstname.lastname@example.org.