The Hon. Darlene Byrne, panelist for the Public Service/Pro Bono Class
The Justice Center works with the Office of Student Life to organize public service-related programs for the societies during the academic year. Our goal is to teach students that pro bono and public service are expected and rewarding parts of every lawyer's career, and that there is a critical need to increase access to justice.
2006-2007 Public Service Initiative Activities:
1. Speaker on public service ideals during fall orientation - Judge Scott McCown addressed the entering class about the importance of increasing access to justice for disadvantaged groups.
2. Public Service / Pro Bono Classes for incoming students - Society faculty advisors led panel discussions that included a judge, a private attorney involved in pro bono, and an attorney with a non-profit engaged in the delivery of legal services to the disadvantaged. The panelists discussed their roles in furthering access to justice. Participants included Judges Tommy Broyles, Darlene Byrne, Suzanne Covington, and Lora Livingston, and attorneys Conor Civins (Fish & Richardson), Andrew Edison (Bracewell & Giuliani), Wayne Krause (Texas Civil Rights Project), Marcy Kurtz (Bracewell & Giuliani), Elizabeth Lippincott (Women's Advocacy Project), Michael Marin (Vinson & Elkins), Nelson Mock (Texas RioGrande Legal Aid), and Tracey Whitley (Texas RioGrande Legal Aid).
Green Society volunteering at the Inside Books Project
3. Fall Society Community Service Projects - Projects included the Green Corn Project (Hodges), Capital Area Food Bank (McCormick), AIDS Walk of Austin (Cadena), Keep Austin Beautiful (Sutton), Austin Parks Foundations (Bradford), Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve Benefit (Sheffield), and the Inside Books Project (Green).
4. Food drive held in conjunction with the Society Games - This friendly competition, with a reward related to the Games going to the society contributing the most food, benefited Caritas of Austin and collected over 2,700 pounds of food on Septemeber 29, 2006. Sheffield won the competition bringing in 859 items of food with McCormick a close second with 692 items.
5. Spring Society Public Service Projects - The Justice Center will strive to develop projects that are law-related or that are undertaken in conjunction with lawyer groups (or both).
6. Society Public Service Prize - Recognition at the end of the spring semester of the society which has shown the greatest commitment to public service over the past academic year.