Directory

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville School of Law

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
School of Law
Waterman Hall
Leflar Law Center
Fayetteville, AR 72701
www.law.uark.edu/

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Susan Williams
Pro Bono Coordinator/Clinic Administrator
P: (479) 575-3056
E-mail

Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with Coordinator

Description of Programs

Under the direction of the Coordinator, students volunteer and participate in a variety of service activities for the community, both legal and non-legal. In addition to matching students with existing community programs, the Coordinator locates and publicizes pro bono opportunities, and keeps records of student and supervisory participation.

The School of Law maintains strong ties to Legal Aid of Arkansas, the primary agency charged with providing pro bono legal services to the poor in Northwest Arkansas. Students volunteer on a regular basis with local Prosecutors, Public Defenders, Teen Court, private attorneys, and with many local non-profit organizations, students also volunteering in many other locations throughout the country, such as the Delta Academy/Delta Gems Mentoring Program

Location of Programs

Housed with the Clinical Programs

Staffing/Management/Oversight

The Coordinator spends 50% of her time overseeing the pro bono program. She is assisted by other clinic staff, students, and community volunteers.

Funding

Funding is provided by the School of Law and the Robert Fussell Outstanding Pro Bono Award Fund.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Habitat for Humanity Wills Project – The Habitat for Humanity Wills Project is a non-credit, pro bono project housed in the Legal Clinic. Under the supervision of volunteer faculty, student attorneys provide basic estate planning services for families who are recipients of Washington, and Benton Counties Habitat for Humanity homes. Students review the manner in which the client holds title to the home and other assets. They prepare simple wills, advance health care directives (living wills), powers of attorney, and other related documents. The project affords students the opportunity for pro bono service in a context that mirrors an estate-planning practice for clients of modest means.

To participate in the Wills Project, students must qualify for certification under Rule XV( to see complete information on how a student qualifies visit: http://courts.state.ar.us/opinions/1998a/980115/rule-xv.txt of the Arkansas Supreme Court and must have the approval of the faculty supervisor for the project. The anticipated level of demand for services determines the number of students who may participate at any given time.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

None listed

Awards/Recognition

Students who volunteer for public service work, either legal, or non-legal are recognized at the Annual Pro Bono Awards Ceremony. Each student receives a certificate, and is invited to a special reception in their honor. The third-year student who has provided the most outstanding public service, including community service, during his or her law school career receives the Robert Fussell Outstanding Pro Bono Award at graduation.

Community Service

Many non-law related community service events, such as the Community Life Committee workday, the Women Law Society (WLSA) Fashion Show,The Black Law Student Association (BLSA) partnership with at the local Boys and Girls club helping children with their homework, and as mentors recur annually but none of these events are formally institutionalized. Students also hold many fund-raisers throughout the year.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Susan Schell
Director of Career Services
E-mail

Susan Williams
Pro Bono Coordinator/Clinic Administrator
P: (479) 575-3056
E-mail

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

None listed

Public Interest Centers

None listed

Public Interest Clinics

Advanced Mediation Clinic: The Advanced Mediation Clinic currently provides mediation for civil cases referred from the Circuit Court of Benton and Washington counties, (e.g. domestic relations, contract, probate, and juvenile (Dependency-Neglect, Families In Need of Services-FINS)), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Veterans Administration. Students co-mediate with a professor and trained mediator volunteers from the community

The classroom component consists of two-hour bi-weekly class sessions during which students discuss the mediations that have occurred, the law involved, and assigned readings from mediation literature to deepen their understanding of the field. Mediations are scheduled throughout the week. The Mediation Clinic is limited to six students and is offered in the fall semester.

Criminal Defense Clinic: Students are licensed under Arkansas Supreme Court Rule XV ( to see complete information on how a student qualifies visit: http://courts.state.ar.us/opinions/1998a/980115/rule-xv.txt) and represent juveniles charged with delinquency in Washington County Circuit Court - Juvenile Division. Students represent clients in all phases of cases. Cases are transferred to the clinic from the Washington County Public Defender's Office and include felonies and misdemeanors.

Criminal Prosecution Clinic: Students in the Criminal Prosecution Clinic appear on behalf of the City of Fayetteville in Fayetteville District Court by special arrangement with the City Prosecutor's office. Student attorneys will be assigned 15 to 20 misdemeanor cases on each of three or four separate court days during the semester. They handle all phases of the cases assigned to them, including pretrial otions and negotiations, trial, and sentencing. This clinic is offered in the Spring semester.

Civil Clinic: Student attorneys in the Civil Clinic represent individual clients in a wide range of civil matters. The majority of cases accepted by the Civil Clinic involve some aspect of family law including: divorce, post divorce modification or enforcement of custody, visitation and support obligations, defense of contempt actions, emancipation of minors, and representation in family-in-need-of-services petitions filed by the Department of Human Services. Other types of cases which might be accepted include consumer contract disputes, landlord-tenant cases, wills, trusts and other end of life representation, incorporation and tax exemption representation of charitable organizations, and representation of disabled individuals in appeals from denial or reduction of Medicaid benefits.

Federal Clinic: Student Attorneys in the Federal Clinic handle primarily no-asset bankruptcies, appearing pro hac vice. Representation begins with an eligibility assessment and includes counseling the client on the decision to pursue bankruptcy as opposed to alternative approaches. If the client elects to seek bankruptcy, the student attorney prepares and files all pleadings and schedules, attends the first meeting of creditors, and responds to any objections or motions by the Trustee of creditors. Student Attorneys in the Federal Clinic also represent individuals in matters before various federal agencies. This clinic is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters.

General Practice Clinic: The General Practice Clinic replicates the experience students are likely to encounter in establishing a solo practice or joining a general practice law firm in Arkansas and the surrounding states. This clinic is offered only during the summer. Student attorneys in the General Practice Clinic represent clients in the civil, criminal, and federal courts in Northwest Arkansas. Beginning with how to interview, the skills emphasized include fact investigation, case theory development, motion practice, discovery, negotiations, and trial practice. Students are licensed under Arkansas Supreme Court Rule XV (to see complete information on how a student qualifies visit: http://courts.state.ar.us/opinions/1998a/980115/rule-xv.txt) and appear as the attorney of record for client. All student legal work is supervised, reviewed, and critiqued by clinical faculty with substantial practice experience. Judges and clients also give feedback on student performance.

Students handle bankruptcy cases, federal administrative matters, defense of juveniles accused of criminal acts of delinquency, civil cases including landlord-tenant law (unlawful detainer actions), domestic cases (divorce, adoption, paternity actions, and child custody), consumer law (contract, fraud, replevin, probate, tort, and contempt), or represent a charitable non-profit in a transactional legal matter.

Immigration Clinic: The Immigration Law Clinic provides opportunities for students preparing for a career in immigration law or general practice by developing skills that are critical in legal practice through an experiential learning model. Working under the supervision of a clinical faculty member, students enrolled in the Immigration Law Clinic represent sectors of the immigrant population for graded credit. The Clinic is divided into a seminar component and a practical component. The seminar l provides basic legal knowledge in substantive immigration law and subjects specific to representing individuals in Immigration Court, such as working with interpreters and the impact of the administrative nature of the court system. In the practical aspect of the clinic, students represent clients before the Citizenship and Immigration Services, Executive Office for Immigration Review, and potentially work on appellate cases in the Federal Circuit Court.

The Innocence Project: The Innocence Project is a clinic dedicated to exonerating wrongly convicted persons. In proving the actual innocence of its clients, the Innocence Project relies heavily on scientific evidence, including DNA tests. Students also may have cases that involve proof of innocence based on new evidence, false testimony, or other bases for wrongful convictions. Students are licensed under Arkansas Supreme Court Rule XV and are assigned cases of currently incarcerated individuals with innocence claims. Students work on all phases of the case from initial intake, case review and eligibility, to building the case, and beyond. This clinic is offered in Fall and Spring semesters as well as during the Summer session.

Transactional Clinic: Transactional Clinic students receive clinical experience counseling and representing non-profit organizations serving Northwest Arkansas in a wide range of non-litigation business law matters. Students learn how to initiate a startup of a non-profit, incorporate that non-profit, obtain federal and state tax exemptions, handle paperwork for purchase and lease of real and personal property, deal with employment and labor law issues, and learn general contract negotiation, drafting, and execution. In addition, students may prepare and participate as presenters in a workshop on matters of general interest to non-profit organizations. Legal Clinic faculty supervise and review student attorneys' work and provide personal feedback to individual student attorneys.

Representing Those in Need: In 2008, the School of Law Legal Clinic provided representation in 720 legal matters. During the 2007-2008 academic year, a student in the Civil Clinic helped a client obtain legal custody of a child who was abandoned by his parents, and another student attorney in the following semester took up the case and helped the client complete the adoption of the child. A student attorney in the Federal Clinic helped a couple keep the family home they were about to lose. Student attorneys in the Transactional Clinic incorporated and obtained tax-exempt status for new charitable organizations serving our community and region. The Legal Clinic provides a much-needed resource for the community, and its tradition of service will continue.

Externships/Internships

Equal Justice Works, a student-organized public interest group, amongst other activities, raises funds throughout the year to subsidize student public interest internships during the summer. This program has been active since 1996.The School of Law will create an institutional culture that supports the public service aspect of its mission.

Classes with a Public Service Component

  • American Indian Law
  • Children and the Law Seminar
  • Labor Relations in the Private Sector
  • Poverty Law
  • Terrorism, National Security, and Human Rights Seminar
  • Health Law
  • Immigration Law and Policy
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Workplace
  • Mediation

Public Interest Journals

Legal Services of Arkansas

Arkansas Access to Justice Commission

Arkansas Bar Association Publications-Pamphlets for the Public

PI Career Support Center

Students participate in off-campus job fairs in Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington D.C., in order to increase interview opportunities for those interested in public interest positions.

The Career Services Office offers specialized counseling for students and alumni interested in public interest careers. The public service sector is broadly defined and includes a variety of legal employers including government agencies, prosecutors, public defenders, and other not-for-profits working with and advocating for individuals historically under-represented by our legal system. In addition to specialized counseling and programming, students are supported in seeking summer employment, fellowships and post graduate work. The School of Law subsidizes participation in the Equal Justice Works Job Fair, the Officer also works to identify and develop public interest externship opportunities.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

None listed

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

The Career Services office works with student groups to develop public interest programming throughout the year. Students, Faculty and Staff serve as volunteers in a wide range of activities sponsored by the law school and its student organizations including, food, clothing, toy and book drives holiday gift drive; law-related educational programs including environmental efforts, immigration issues, drafting of wills for Habitat for Humanity, and housing construction.

Specific programs include: Habitat for Humanity, Havenwood Project, Mentoring Program, and Visiting career consultant and speakers.

Student Public Interest Groups

  • ABA Law Student Division
  • Christian Legal Society
  • Phi Alpha Delta
  • Equal Justice Works
  • Environmental Law
  • Asian Law Student Association
  • Black Law Student Association
  • Women Law Students Association
  • Student Bar Association
  • Community Life Committee

August 7, 2018