The Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative (PBCSI) started Pro Bono Week with a bang, offering students and alumni an opportunity to help low-income seniors at a Senior Center Initiative Workshop with the Center for Disability & Elder Law, one of PBCSI’s community partners. The workshop took place on Friday, October 18, 2013, at the Jacob Blake Apartments in Evanston, Ill. Students and alumni assisted seniors with advanced directives, such as powers of attorney and living wills.
Cheryl Price, director of PBCSI, says the workshop was a success: “We helped numerous seniors with an incredibly important legal service and also gave our students and young alumni an opportunity to work with two to three clients, which is fantastic for building practical legal skills. I think this workshop embodies the spirit and intent of Pro Bono Week. We are excited that we have been able to offer it to the DePaul community for several years now.”
Student and alumni volunteers also found the workshop meaningful and beneficial. Law student Sarah Hunter explained: "The volunteer day with CDEL was an invaluable learning opportunity. I came away with a broader understanding of an area of law that I had not yet been able to explore as a student. Seeing the immediate impact of providing simple but essential legal assistance to vulnerable individuals was a rewarding way to strengthen and diversify skills that I hope to translate into my legal practice."
Alumnus Jake Kanyusik (JD '13) also enjoyed learning a new area of law while helping others: “Volunteering at the Donate-A-Day with the Center for Disability & Elder Law was an excellent experience. Prior to this Donate-A-Day I had no experience with powers of attorney or any sort of advanced directives. By the end of the day I felt confident in this new area of law. I was able to get practical relevant to the current legal market while at the same time helping people who are in need of services.”
In light of the positive feedback about the pro bono day, Price is considering offering a similar workshop in spring 2014 and recruiting students to participate in a Wills for Heroes workshop, which provides legal assistance with advanced directives to first responders, such as firefighters and police officers.