Alumni and students collaborate to help seniors during Pro Bono Week

As a way to celebrate Pro Bono Week, the Pro Bono and Community Service Initiative (PBCSI) held its annual October Donate-A-Day on Friday, October 24. For the fourth year running, PBCSI and The Center for Disability and Elder Law (CDEL) paired up to offer a great day of pro bono service for the DePaul community.

Alumni were invited to return to DePaul and participate in this event alongside current students. The Donate-A-Day focused on assisting low-income seniors with advanced directives, such as living wills and powers of attorney for health care and property. The day started with an in-depth training on drafting powers of attorney for property and health care and preparing living will declarations in Illinois. Tom Wendt, CDEL’s Legal Director, conducted the training.

After completing the training, the volunteers headed over to the Evergreen Apartments in Old Town for the workshop with the seniors. Working in pairs, volunteers were given the opportunity to work directly with clients, conducting interviews and drafting the legal paperwork for the seniors. 

Leah Sibbio, a 1L at DePaul, had a very positive experience. "I found working directly with a client for my first time to be a very rewarding experience," she said. "The event allowed me to get a taste of how challenging and yet exciting the client interview process can be." 

Many other volunteers shared this feeling and found the whole day very rewarding. For some alumni, this was their first experience doing pro bono work. They found the pro bono day both educational and enjoyable and hope to continue doing pro bono work. In the end, the seniors received important legal assistance and the volunteers gained valuable legal experience and exposure to public interest and pro bono legal work.