Blog Posts: Spring Break 2011 (Western)

I realized that watching this real-life attorney-client interaction would be one of the most useful experiences I would get on the wills trip.

As a third-year law student getting ready to be an attorney myself soon, I’ll admit that I was reluctant to ask the Legal Aid attorneys how to do something I thought I should already understand, or to step in and explain a difficult issue to a client, at least at the beginning of the trip. But soon I realized that watching this real-life attorney-client interaction would be one of the most useful experiences I would get on the wills trip. Seeing the attorneys explain the documents to clients after I had gone through them helped me to realize how thorough I needed to be in explaining them myself. Hearing the attorneys use matter-of-fact language to talk about the very sensitive decisions being made in living wills and Health Care Powers of Attorney documents helped me to feel more comfortable talking about these issues matter-of-factly, too. At the beginning of the trip I felt like a complete novice, very far from being able to demonstrate the knowledge and poise of the practicing attorneys I was watching. By the end of the trip I began to see how I could also present myself to clients with the confidence and clarity necessary to earn their trust.


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No Comments | Posted by Erin Deignan Reis on Thu. March 17, 2011 2:46 PM
Categories: Spring Break 2011 (Western)

Knowing that I could provide a resource that otherwise would not have been there...

I was personally impressed with the selflessness of many of our clients. Not only did they overcome any issues they had with mortality in order to make sure their loved ones were not burdened, many of the clients expressed concern for those in need and wanted to be able to care for them after their death.


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No Comments | Posted by Zachary A. Kohn (Zack) on Mon. March 14, 2011 2:41 PM
Categories: Spring Break 2011 (Western)

This experience provided an excellent insight into cross-cultural lawyering...

I came on this trip expecting to work wills clinics, but the WNC group received a 2 for 1 bonus! Earlier today, we had the opportunity to assist with a divorce clinic...saddening, but very educational. I learned the North Carolina procedures for an absolute divorce. All of the clients were seeking a divorce as pro se plaintiffs, so the clinic basically walked them through all of the procedures. There were very literate clients who could follow along easily and others who needed to be reminded of the same instructions numerous times. There were also clients who didn’t know their spouse’s addresses. Almost every client qualified to file as an indigent, which meant that they did not have to pay the almost $200 filing fee. This experience provided an excellent insight into cross-cultural lawyering and the types of issues that arise when you are working with individuals from various walks of life.


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No Comments | Posted by Kandace R. Davis on Mon. March 14, 2011 2:38 PM
Categories: Spring Break 2011 (Western)

Guiding clients through health care powers of attorney and living wills made me feel connected to each client...

As a 1L, this trip was my first opportunity to interact with clients. At the outset of the trip I was nervous, but I felt prepared to discuss information needed to execute a will. On the first day of the trip, all the clients I spoke with wanted a will and/or a power of attorney so all of my discussions with clients focused on property and financial decisions. It wasn’t until the second day that I fully appreciated the difficult health care decisions our clients faced when they wanted to execute a health care power of attorney or a living will.


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No Comments | Posted by Laura N. Sloan on Mon. March 14, 2011 2:36 PM
Categories: Spring Break 2011 (Western)

By showing our clients that we are “regular people” just like them it can make the process better for all those involved.

Although I am a 3L and have gone on a pro bono trip before, I never cease to be amazed at how wonderful trips like this are. Times like these never get old, and I never stop learning. With each new client or clinic site, there are new challenges, new people and new experiences to be had. What stood out to me most about this particular trip was that no matter how many differences there were between my client and myself we could always find common ground in which to relate to each other. Almost all of the clients we worked with at our wills clinics lived in rural areas and were over the age of 60. Ironically, and probably a-typical of the conservative area we were serving, two of my clients also lived very alternative lifestyles.


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No Comments | Posted by Heather A. Powell on Wed. March 9, 2011 2:33 PM
Categories: Spring Break 2011 (Western)

Seems like I can’t get enough of it!

Wills Trip #3. Seems like I can’t get enough of it! Not growing up in North Carolina, but wanting to make the state my home after graduation, I have really enjoyed getting to know different regions in the state. This trip I’ve had the privilege of learning about rural life in the Western part of the state.  The mountains are beautiful and the people are so welcoming. Yet, it’s evident these regions struggle with a lack of resources. From the legal perspective, there is only one Legal Aid office to support 5 rural counties. Not only is it difficult to get the word out about their services, but it’s hard for clients to travel to the Boone office to receive these services. Although Legal Aid attorneys do travel to these regions sometimes, the legal needs of these communities outweigh what they are able to provide on a daily basis. It is because of these challenges that I feel that our work is vitally important. As a team, we are able to show up with everything we need and in the course of one day make an impact on a community’s unmet legal needs. I’m really proud to be a part of this group of students and see the difference we’re making in such a short period of time together.


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No Comments | Posted by Carla M. Hermida on Wed. March 9, 2011 2:32 PM
Categories: Spring Break 2011 (Western)

Professor Brophy’s property lectures come to life!

Despite all of our training, I was still nervous yesterday when our first client walked in the door. I am now outside the world of casebooks and legal theories – these are real people and legally enforceable documents! However, from the moment that my partner and I stepped into our first client meeting, things went more smoothly than I could have hoped. The drafting and executing process has been great thanks to help from our supervising attorneys as Boone Legal Aid and from our teammates. By the end of the first day, this lowly 1L had drafted and executed wills, powers of attorney, living wills, and health care powers of attorney. This has been a humbling opportunity to serve individuals in this way. It has also been exciting to see Professor Brophy’s property lectures come to life!


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No Comments | Posted by Andrew D. Brown on Tue. March 8, 2011 2:31 PM
Categories: Spring Break 2011 (Western)

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