While the training we went through the week before the trip was very helpful, there were a number of things it did not prepare me for. We discussed cross-cultural interviews, professional responsibility, and will construction. Celia explained the different documents we would be able to provide, and she skillfully answered our nit-picky law student questions.
And although they did mention how important our work was, I was not ready for the immediate and intimate connection with our clients. As soon as the pleasantries passed and we were in our interview room, it was as if we were lifelong acquaintances. The most frightening moment came after discussing a possible healthcare power of attorney, when the client asked me “What do you think? What should I do?” I truly had no idea what the client should have done, and I told them that. I knew I had to stick with explaining the full implications of each option, and leave it at that.
Another thing I was unprepared for was the stark contrast between the importance of these documents and the realization that, without the program’s dedication to public interest and needed legal aid, these clients would be entirely without these documents. This sharp divide highlights how much of a real impact the Pro Bono program has on communities that do not have full access to legal assistance. It was mad cool to be able to provide this very necessary legal assistance for free, to individuals that need it.
Posted by Belal Elrahal on Wed. March 7, 2012 10:57 AM
Spring Break 2012 (Western)