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5th Circuit Public Defender: Special Resource Project

Information and resources for clients is often scattered and can even be difficult to locate. Many clients rely on quick internet searches but without knowledge of the law they can rely on unsuitable advice. This project will in have teams of students not only compile information and resources of relevant topics but also provide a description of next steps.

Just having the knowledge is often not enough; clients need to know how to move forward. Topics will range from expungement, Section 8 housing, impact of criminal charges on immigration status and other emerging issues.

Purpose of pro bono opportunity

  1. To provide opportunities for law students to work alongside attorneys to provide clients with accurate, concise and centralized information about frequent issues.
  2. To provide skills development and enhancement opportunities for law students
  3. To create an awareness of the problems and rewards of being a public defender
  4. To take charge of a know your rights resource guide

Requirements or qualifications

Law students must:

  1. be a good academic standing
  2. complete and submit the Volunteer Enrollment Form
  3. have completed one semester of law school
  4. have an interest in serving the indigent population

Responsibilities of organizations

The Public Defender’s Office must:

  1. agree to properly supervise the work of the law student
  2. provide clear and timely instructions
  3. seek opportunities to expose the students to various tasks
  4. provide feedback when possible.

Responsibilities of the students

The students must:

  1. communicate effectively and efficiently with the Public Defender’s office and the supervising attorney
  2. complete tasks in a timely and competent manner
  3. seek assistance when needed
  4. perform duties professionally
  5. treat this volunteer opportunity as if it was a paying or for-credit position
  6. be able to be creative and demonstrate excellent organizational skills

Skills Opportunities

The following Core Skills may be associated with this particular volunteer opportunity. Not all tasks will contain all of these skills. See the complete Core Competencies and Skills Inventory for more details.

  • Core Skill: Oral Communication and Listening Abilities
  • Core Skill: Writing Skills
  • Core Skill: General Research Skills
  • Core Skill: Critical Reading Abilities
  • Core Skill: Task Organization and Management
  • Core Skills: Professionalism