Public Action Law Society's Alternative Spring Break

Over the law school’s spring break the Public Action Law Society (PALS) held their annual alternative spring break (ASB) program. This year, the focus of ASB was the need for civil right to counsel. While our focus was on civil right to counsel, which is not in existence, the students that were involved were focused on several different types of law called tracks. Overall, the ASB 2014 tracks matched 73 students with 165 clients in 7 distinct service projects. 22 students came from 14 out-of-state law schools. Students were able to choose from: family law, criminal law, juvenile law, veterans rights, a research and writing track focused on the Miranda warnings for juveniles, elder law, and immigration law. The weeks events, involved many different speakers coming into train and to educate about the need for a civil right to counsel. One of the speakers was our very own, Larry Rice.

Specifically, The family law track provided five students with the opportunity to guide 15 clients from the Community Legal Center through the pro se divorce process. Larry came and trained the students in the process for more complicated divorces but our students were focused only on the specific guidelines of the form. Clients who meet the CLC income requirements and have no children or joint assets with their spouse can apply for an uncontested divorce before a divorce referee with the spouse’s consent and an application fee. Students appeared before Divorce Referee in Shelby County General Sessions Court on two hearing days. Nine additional litigants were able to file with the clerk and have a hearing set before either a judge or chancellor.