Students Give Up Spring Break to Help the Poor

More than one dozen law school students from Rutgers-Camden School of Law have given up their spring break to provide legal services for the poor in Austin.

Working with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), the students arrived in Austin over the weekend and have been working at TRLA’s local office. Their trip has been made possible thanks to the support of the Association for Public Interest Law.

“These students have selflessly volunteered their time to help those in need,” said TRLA attorney and Austin branch manager D’Ann Johnson. “While most students are at the beach during spring break, they’re here fighting the good fight.”

Over the course of the week the students have assisted TRLA attorneys with their caseloads which include work on home foreclosures, child custody cases, tax issues, and divorces. Their week of service gives the students the opportunity to gain valuable legal experience while helping alleviate the current strain on legal aid organizations in Texas.

Their help comes at a critical time for legal aid in Texas. Drops in interest rates have had a profound effect on vital sources of funding for legal aid organizations. Increases in foreclosures and unemployment rates have led to skyrocketing demand for services. In 2008 TRLA turned away one third of the people who needed its legal services due to insufficient resources.

Added Johnson, “Volunteer efforts like this are critical to maintaining our ability to serve the poor. The work that these students are providing is invaluable.”

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