Students Assist Immigrants, Low-Income Property Owners in the Valley During Winter Break

Dec. 17, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas — University of Texas School of Law students, faculty members and alumni will spend part of their winter break in the Rio Grande Valley volunteering on projects that will assist low-income property owners, immigration detainees and undocumented high school students among other populations in need of free legal services.

During the fifth annual Pro Bono in January trip, which will take place Jan. 5-10, 36 law students will put their education into action helping to provide access to justice in South Texas while improving their legal skills, building community with their classmates and exploring legal practice.

“A lot of future probate, property and immigration issues will be resolved because of the work done during these clinics,” said Tina Fernandez, director of UT Law’s Pro Bono Program. “The volunteer work students, alumni, faculty and our partners in the field will do during the Pro Bono in January trip will affect hundreds of individuals and families in the Valley.”

About Pro Bono in January Projects:
Wills on Wheels — Students will work with attorneys from the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and South Texas Civil Rights Project to staff wills clinics in Pharr and Brownsville by interviewing low-income property owners about their estate needs and by drafting wills.

Immigration Assistance — A small group will help the South Texas Civil Rights Project assemble immigration petitions for women filing for legal residency under the Violence Against Women Act, and another group will work with the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project to assist immigration detainees.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Project — Students, faculty members and attorneys from Austin and the Valley, and other volunteers will help run DACA clinics in San Juan for undocumented high school students who may qualify for the DACA program.

To schedule a free appointment or find out more about the DACA clinics, contact the UT Law Pro Bono Program at 512-232-2990 or probono@law.utexas.edu. Appointments for services are available and required in advance.

These events will be held at multiple locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Details about photo and interview opportunities are available by request.

For more information, contact: Samantha Youngblood, School of Law, 512 232 1156;  Tina Fernandez, School of Law, 512-232-6170.