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
Winter Break Trip 2016