UMass Law students will contribute more than 5,500 hours of legal services to the community during this spring semester, making good on the school's public mission to address unmet needs in the region. UMass Law students are expected to complete an additional 1,800 hours of service this summer.
"UMass Law is all about connecting our legal education to the needs of the community,'' said law student Andrew Sibley of Ashburnham, who is putting his skills and education to work at the New Bedford City Solicitor's Office. "My fellow students and I have a wonderful opportunity to put our education to the test on real issues affecting real people and neighborhoods. "
Megan Brophy of East Bridgewater, who is assisting at the Taunton City Solicitor's Office, said, "This is exactly why I chose UMass Law. The commitment from the students, faculty, and staff to serving the community is unparalleled."
Examples of services rendered by UMass Law students:
* Conducting research related to municipal law for the City Solicitors of Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford, saving taxpayers in those cities from having to pay additional legal fees.
* Aiding indigent clients at South Coastal Counties Legal Services with civil and probate cases, helping to reduce the number of people who go to civil court with no representation.
* Assisting prosecutors in the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, allowing cases to be moved through the system more swiftly.
Helping local attorneys increase the number of pro bono cases they can handle.
The service is provided as part of the following law school programs:
* Field Placement - Gives students practical experience in real-world settings under the supervision of an attorney.
* Community Development Clinic - Connects students to non-profit organizations and small businesses.
* Immigration Law Clinic - Responds to the legal needs of the regional immigrant population.
* Legal Services and Tribal Clinics - Collaborates with South Coastal Counties Legal Services to serve needy populations and tribal members in the region.
New Bedford City Solicitor John Markey said, "The enthusiasm, talent, and civic engagement ethic that UMass law students bring to City Hall is infectious. Our community is fortunate to have this school and these students helping us address legal issues facing the city."
"UMass Law and its students are valuable resources in our effort to achieve justice for our clients facing complex and scary challenges in the civil courts," added Susan Nagl, interm executive director of South Coastal Counties Legal Services.