If There's A Will, There's A Way!

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Tucked away in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, 22 UNC law students crawled out of bed to venture out onto the Reservation of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians to host a wills clinic with Legal Aid of North Carolina at a senior citizens center in the community. Exhausted from a long day of travel and training yesterday, we retired early to our hotel rooms and then we made sure to eat a hearty breakfast and to drink a full cup of coffee before heading out this morning.


The senior center, full of Christmas decorations and holiday cheer, welcomed us and made plenty of room for us to spred our wills documents out and to charge our laptops. The morning crowd was slow, but as soon as lunchtime rolled around and bellies began to fill, many more people began making appointments to have last will and testament, advanced directive, power of attorney, and health care power of attorney documents executed. We were put in pairs of two or three to work together to help each client with their specific needs. Every group was able to meet with clients, and we ended the day with 18 clients served and over 20 documents executed. Each client left the building feeling both relieved and happy that such important documents could now be checked off of their to-do lists.


We continued this hard work all the way until the late afternoon until it was time for us to venture off to the Cherokee Tribal Court Justice Center. There, we met with a Judge and the tribal prosecutor (both UNC law alumni) who told us a lot about how the criminal code of the Cherokee tribe differs and compares with the North Carolina and Federal laws.


Both Legal Aid of NC and the clients we have helped thus far have thanked us immensely for volunteering our winter break time to come and offer our knowledge and our willingness to help. We are exhausted from the day but are prepared and excited to get back to work tomorrow, this time working on Divorce cases and Expunctions. Feeling inspired, we hope to help even more clients than we did today who have been anxiously awaiting our legal help and resources. Additionally, we, as aspiring lawyers, hope to learn as much as possible through our experiences here in Cherokee, NC.  

Posted by Miranda A. Wodarski on Wed. January 4, 2017 2:00 PM
Categories: Winter Break Trip 2016
UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106

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