Posted: November 7th, 2013 | By: Juliet Beckstrand
Wake Forest Law students will be returning to the Pembroke office of Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC) to serve area clients at a free Wills Clinic on Saturday, Nov. 9.
Although LANC receives a grant to prepare advance directives for local residents, demand in the past few years has exceeded Pembroke office resources, according to Wake Forest Law Outreach Director Beth Hopkins.
“As a result, Wake Forest Law students have been invited to work at the Wills Clinic to receive hands-on experience and earn pro bono hours,” she said.
Under the supervision of LANC Staff Attorney Dale Deese, the law students will meet with clients and aid in drafting simple wills and advance directive documents for low-income clients living in Robeson County. Those seeking free legal aid must make an appointment.
The Wills Clinic has been held for the past four years, and Aurora Stierwald (’13), the Estate Planning Project Coordinator for the Pro Bono Project, who attended the Pembroke Wills Clinic as a first-year law student, wanted to ensure it would run again.
“I think it’s a very rewarding experience for everyone involved,” Stierwald said. “The students are able to utilize what they have learned in law school and also gain the practical experience that’s so important to a legal career. Legal Aid also really appreciates Wake Forest Law students driving two-and-a-half hours to Pembroke to help with these legal documents because they have more clients than they do resources.”
Last fall, 10 Wake Forest Law students participated in two Wills Clinics in Pembroke, where they assisted the Legal Aid office draft wills and powers of attorney for area clients. Under the supervision of a Legal Aid attorney, each student met with two clients and received valuable hands-on experience.
Lindsay Watson (’14) described the opportunity as a “great experience. I really enjoyed my experience at the Pembroke Wills Clinic. I learned how to draft multiple documents. Our supervisor was nice and helpful. He made me feel comfortable enough to answer the clients’ questions. I’m so glad I did it.”