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Students to provide pro bono legal services to Lumbee tribe with Legal Aid over Spring Break

A group of Wake Forest University School of Law students will travel over Spring Break to southeastern North Carolina, where students will be helping the Lumbee Indians, among others, with a range of legal issues.

This year’s Pro Bono Project Spring Break Service Trip will allow students to partner with Legal Aid of Pembroke and provide legal services and community outreach to local residents, including members of the Lumbee tribe, said Pro Bono Project board member Kaitlyn Girard (’12). 

Pro Bono Spring Break Service Trip 2011

Lamar Armstrong ('11), Andrew Kisz ('12), Professor Beth Hopkins, Michael Lennox ('11) and Katie Barber ('12).

The students plan to conduct a clinic for a Native American veterans group, perform title searches on the Resettlement Act of 1934 and provide assistance in the areas of Medicaid, food stamps and housing. The trip will take place March 7-12.

 “We will have the opportunity to address credit, housing and health care law issues, while providing legal services to the Lumbee tribe and other residents of southeastern North Carolina,” Girard said.  “As we’re working with Legal Aid, there is also potential to work with a variety of other legal issues present in Pembroke and Robeson County.”

Last fall, the law school’s Pro Bono Project launched the Pembroke Legal Services student group that committed to providing pro bono services to the Lumbee Indians in the rural area of southeast North Carolina, which includes Pembroke and Lumberton, said Beth Hopkins, Wake Forest law school director of outreach. 

 “According to the director of the Pembroke Legal Aid office, Dale Deese, our law school group is the first one in the state to help the Pembroke office,” Hopkins said.

 Michael Lennox (’11), the student director for the Pembroke Legal Services group, met with a tribal administrator to discuss ways in which the spring break projects can establish a foundation for further collaborations with the Lumbee.  To commemorate the new relationship between tribal leaders and the Pembroke Legal Services group, a dinner is planned between the tribal leaders, members of the Pembroke Legal Services group and the Wake Forest University School of Law Dean Blake D. Morant.

Fundraisers, including an old-fashioned bake sale put together by Pro Bono Project board members, helped offset travel expenses for students who will be volunteering on the Spring Break trip, Lennox said.