Lumberton Spring Break Trip- Clinics and Dinner with Alumni

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By Annemarie Ernst, Class of 2017

This year’s Spring Break Pro Bono Trip was bittersweet for me. It is the last Pro Bono trip I will ever be able to go on as a law student here at Carolina Law. I truly enjoy being a part of these trips and knowing that I am to help people who have legal needs. It has been the best opportunity available to me as a law student to gain practical and real-life legal skills.

For my last Pro Bono trip, we went to Lumberton, North Carolina. This area experienced horrible flooding last October from Hurricane Matthew, so I was very interested to see how this area is doing. It’s hard to imagine that just five months ago it was a very different scene than what we saw.

This Wills trip was different from my last one as well. I went on last year’s trip to Boone, NC, and learned how to draft simple wills and other advanced directives for the client’s I saw. It taught me how to draft basic wills. I found that to be extremely helpful because it gave me a good foundation to fall back on for this trip a year later.

For the Lumberton trip, we were able to draft more complicated wills. Expecting to draft simple wills again, this change expanded my horizons even more about wills and how difficult it can be to get the wording just right. Having very little experience in drafting wills (the last trip to Boone was the first and last time), these wills proved to be more difficult, yet still rewarding. At the end when the final draft of the will was signed, and the clients were happy with the result, I felt proud knowing that I was able to translate their wishes into words.

During the two days of clinic, I saw 6 clients, and each client was a little bit different. They all had different items they wished to give to certain family members; different concerns with end-of-life decisions; different expectations they had for their wills. Each client taught me a little bit more about how to approach these documents and how to approach the sensitive topic of their future. I loved helping out each one of them and knowing that I was helping them do something as important as making sure their most prized possession was going to the person they wanted to give it to.

After the second night of our trip, we met with some alumni who lived local to Lumberton. They were all very nice and gave us some great insight about their jobs as well as more information about Robeson County (the county we were in) as well. It was an intimate setting on the front lawn of a house belonging to an alumnus. Learning about their jobs in a more rural area of North Carolina was fascinating. One of our hosts was even an Assistant District Attorney, which is what I hope to find a job as after I pass the bar.

My final trip experience didn’t disappoint. Whether it was the incredible group of students that accompanied me on the trip, the clients who were so appreciative, or the attorneys that were more than grateful, I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to participate in something that I find to be so important. Pro bono has been and continues to be a very important part of my life, and I’m glad to have been able to spend part of my spring break helping people in need.

Posted by Allison Standard Constance on Tue. March 28, 2017 9:50 AM
Categories: Spring Break 2017
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