PHARR – Students and faculty members from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law hit the border region last week to volunteer on a range of law-related projects and assisted undeserved communities.
Organized by the Law School's Pro Bono Program the trip allowed 56 students and seven faculty members to work with local public interest legal organizations in the Rio Grande Valley.
Launched in 2009, the Pro Bono Program is a project of the Law School's William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law. The program encourages students to engage in pro bono work that will increase access to justice and to develop a lifetime commitment to providing legal services to those in need.
One of the services provided by the students was a will clinic. At this clinic students prepare a will for those who would not be able to afford one.
"We're hosting a wills clinic for low income home owners to help them protect their assets," Director of the Pro Bono Program Tina Fernandez said.
The students are also conducting field research in colonias in five border counties for a major study funded by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs on the prevalence and impact of contracts for deed. The counties include Cameron, El Paso, Hidalgo, Starr and Webb. The project is co-administered by the William Wayne Justice Center and the LBJ School of Public Affairs.