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March 1, 2005

Press Contacts: Allyson Childs, Director of Student Programs, UT Law, (512) 232-1134 or Jodi Bart, Communications Coordinator, UT Law, (512) 471-7330.

UT Law Announces Ambitious Public Service Program for First Year Students

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin School of Law announced public service projects adopted by its first-year class, as part of its new Society Program. The Society Program was initiated under the leadership of Bill Powers and was introduced to build a stronger sense of community among students and to further improve student access to UT Law faculty members. Each society offers first-year law students a range of professional/academic, social and public service activities. This spring the societies are involved in the following community service projects:

The McCormick Society volunteered during The People’s Law School on Saturday, Feb. 26. Members of the Travis County Bar Association offered free classes on common legal issues. The students served as classroom assistants to the attorneys teaching the classes, provided directions to participants, and answered questions about the Law School.

The Leon Green Society will work at the Austin State School on Friday, March 4 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Law student volunteers will be painting, cleaning, organizing, and assisting at the Austin State School as needed.

The Gloria K. Bradford, Carlos Cadena and Charles McCormick Societies will volunteer to help with the 77th Annual Zilker Park Kite Festival on Sunday, March 6 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Volunteers will be involved in all aspects of the festival, from selling soft drinks to helping kids make kites. All proceeds from the Kite Festival are donated to charities that aid local children in crisis, such as the Pebble Project and the Rainbow Room.

The Alice Sheffield and Gus Hodges Societies will provide volunteers for Explore UT on Saturday, March 5, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Explore UT is the University’s annual campus-wide open house that includes artistic, cultural and scientific exploration of UT. Students will be assisting in various capacities from welcoming visitors to UT to helping with programs across campus.

The Gus Hodges Society will work at the Capital Area Food Bank on Saturday, March 5, from 12:45 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The students will help the food bank sort and process donations, and will be joined by attorneys from Jenkens & Gilchrist, P.C.

Students from the John Sutton Society have volunteered to assist low income individuals and families who are eligible for the earned income tax credit (EITC) file their tax returns. These volunteers have received training from the IRS in order to become certified tax preparers. Many low income families miss out on EITC, and these tax preparers are helping them get tax refunds.

Members of the Helen Hargrave Society have been involved in Street Law, an organization that sends law students into middle and high schools to teach practical, participatory lessons about law, democracy, and human rights. Additionally, they are working with the Survivor Support Network which aids survivors of domestic violence and their families.

Related Links:
UT Law Announces New Society System for First-Year Students: http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2004/071204_societies.html
The People's Law School: http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2005/011905_pls.html
Austin State School: http://www.dads.state.tx.us/services/stateschools/austin.html
Zilker Kite Festival: http://www.zilkerkitefestival.com/
Explore UT: http://www.utexas.edu/events/exploreut/
Capital Area Food Bank: http://www.austinfoodbank.org/
UT Street Law: http://utdirect.utexas.edu/loreg/orjo.WBX?group_code=A21
Survivor Support Network: http://utdirect.utexas.edu/loreg/orjo.WBX?group_code=A15