Students Spend Spring Break Engaged in Pro Bono Work
University of Kentucky College of Law students Joseph Brown, Alexis Gonzalez-Lopez, Arash Hamidi, Nick Modarressi, Terra Rivera and Steven Stewart spent their spring break in Eastern Kentucky from March 17-21 engaging in pro bono work. This is the third year in a row that UK College of Law students participated in this alternative spring break opportunity. Law students from Duke, Virginia and Notre Dame also participate in the pro bono effort during their respective spring breaks.
The six UK law students gained valuable practical experience while assisting individuals who were unable to otherwise afford legal representation. The law students participated in many activities, such as drafting a legal complaint, composing jury instructions, attending court hearings, interacting with clients and an expert witness, visiting a client in jail, assisting with a mediation, sitting in on some of the firm’s initial consultations with prospective clients, and conducting confidential due diligence.
“The experience is great, especially for 1L law students who may desire an ‘inside’ look into legal practice,” says Arash Hamidi.
Students were able to apply skills they’ve learned in first year courses. The students applied concepts from Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Torts to the various legal matters they encountered.
“It was really beneficial to be able to witness our class material being applied to real world situations,” said Hamidi.
Ned Pillersdorf, a partner at the firm Pillersdorf, DeRosset & Lane, supervised students during the project. Students really valued the experience because of Mr. Pillersdorf’s high expectations.
“We would be eating breakfast, and, all of a sudden, we were put on the spot regarding some issue of law that Ned was either entertaining or currently practicing,” said Steven Stewart. “He made the pressures of actually practicing law readily apparent. I would do it all again for that reason.”
The students also learned from Mr. Pillersdorf’s colleague, John Rosenberg, about AppalReD, a non-profit law firm which provides free legal services to more than 6,000 clients each year. Mr. Pillersdorf often arranges for the students to engage with prominent members of the community, which this year included Court of Appeals Judge Janet Stumbo (Mr. Pillersdorf’s wife) and former Kentucky Chief Justice Joseph Lambert. Finally, the spring break visit usually includes some traditional community service and this year the students visited the Floyd County Animal Shelter.