Student Legal Relief in New Orleans

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Student Legal Relief (SLR) sent 32 people to New Orleans this winter break to perform pro bono legal work benefiting those most in need within the community. The goal of this organization, from its creation, has been to assist the New Orleans area in their recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

SLR members successfully assisted the Orleans District Attorney and Public Defender’s Office, both of which are still reeling from the aftermath of Katrina. Members in the District Attorney’s Office assisted in cataloging evidence that was moved or damaged during Katrina. In the Public Defender’s Office, members assisted in transcribing jail calls. The Public Defender’s Office had been created only after Katrina and utilizes the assistance of law students in their very young office, which was only created after Katrina.

The Cohen institute, an educational think tank, also benefited from the assistance of SLR. The Hurricane destroyed the traditional elementary school model. SLR members in Cohen assisted in the early stages in the formation of an entirely new type of charter school. Also assisting children is the Juvenile Justice Project, whose focus is on the treatment and conditions of children in the juvenile justice system.

Finally, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services is a legal aid clinic providing assistance to low income members of the community. The SLR members assisted in the areas of housing law, family law, consumer protection, domestic violence, employment and public benefits, foreclosure prevention and homeless advocacy. Members assisted with client intakes and participated in office meetings to discuss their cases.

Thank you to the members of the Student Legal Relief Executive Board, for their hard work and diligence in the planning of this year’s trip: Abigail Cahak, Caitlin Doyle, Michale McGuire, Emily Vock, Elizabeth Yale, and Lauren De La Rosa.

In addition, thank you to the new members of SLR, without whom this trip would not have been possible: Amber Porter, Angelica Nizio, Brian Flynn, Kristie Sweat, Erin Flower, Evelyn Salazar, Feifi Bian, Guanwen Li, Jia Liu, Jing Tang, Joseph Bozdech, Karl Neumann, Kathryn LaCoste, Kyle Lennox, Melissa Bushnick, Nanya Springer, Ping Ping Huang, Shan Wang, Stephanie Nelson, Susanna Lee, Tongji Zhao, Victor Abel Pereyra, Wumin Sun, Xuan Li, Xuequi Chen, and Yuetkei Wong.