Alternative Spring Break

The Center for Access to Justice facilitates Alternative Spring Break trips to provide Georgia State Law students the opportunity to spend a week immersed in a substantive area of law, while also engaging in pro bono legal service. Students work with licensed attorneys to receive training and guidance, gaining insight into some of the legal issues facing the community in which the students volunteer for the week.

For Spring Break 2018-19, the center will host three trips:

  • Community Lawyering in Atlanta: We are thrilled to partner with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF) to again offer trip participants an opportunity to learn how place-based neighborhood lawyering positively impacts low-income children by stabilizing housing and reducing absenteeism. Students will work with attorneys from AVLF’s Standing With Our Neighbors and from Truancy Intervention Project to understand how a lack of affordable, stable housing can affect education, and what advocates in Atlanta are doing to break the cycle of poverty and improve classroom performance.
  • Immigration Detention in Lumpkin, Georgia: People in immigration detention have a right to due process under the U.S. Constitution, but many of them are detained indefinitely in geographically isolated facilities and live under deplorable conditions with no trial, conviction, or ability to post bond. Nearly all of these detained immigrants lack attorney representation, but detained immigrants who have counsel are ten times as likely to succeed in their cases as those who represent themselves. Working with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, Georgia State Law students will spend the week at the Stewart Immigration Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, meeting with clients, drafting documents and interpreting for attorneys.
  • Rural Justice in Dougherty County, Georgia: As the Center’s Access to Justice Map of Georgia demonstrates, most of Georgia’s lawyers are concentrated in the metropolitan Atlanta area, and access to the internet and public transportation may not be as readily available in rural counties, exacerbating the difficulty rural Georgians face in navigating the justice system. A group of Georgia State Law students will travel to southwest Georgia to understand the distinct access to justice issues facing rural communities. In partnership with the Dougherty County Law Library and Georgia Legal Services Program, students will help to develop targeted self-help materials, including short webinars, to serve rural Georgians.

To learn more about these upcoming trip(s), contact the Center for Access to Justice at lawa2j@gsu.edu or attend an information session January 14, 2019 at noon and 5 p.m. in Room 304.

Past trips include:

2017-18
  • Community Lawyering in Atlanta: In conjunction with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF), trip participants will learn how place-based neighborhood lawyering positively impacts low-income children by stabilizing housing and reducing absenteeism. Students spent the week with advocates from a number of legal services organizations, including Truancy Intervention Project and AVLF’s Standing with Our Neighbors Initiative, working to break the cycle of poverty and improve student outcomes by focusing on the intersection of housing conditions and education. The group gained an understanding of how a lack of affordable, stable housing increases student transiency and affects classroom performance–and how lawyers can make a difference. Read more>>
  • Immigration Detention in Lumpkin, Georgia: Working with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, Georgia State Law students spent the week at the Stewart Immigration Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, meeting with clients, drafting documents and interpreting for attorneys. Read more>>
2016-17
  • Landlord/tenant law in Atlanta: In partnership with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the Georgia Law Center for the Homeless, 12 law students spent the week interviewing tenants, investigating housing conditions, observing dispossessory proceedings in Fulton County court, participating in mediation and assisting tenants in filing answers to evictions. Read more>>
  • Criminal court observation in Jackson, Mississippi: In conjunction with the Mississippi Office of the Public Defender, five law students conducted court-watching research in Mississippi criminal courts, recording their observations for an ongoing study about appointment of counsel for indigent defendants. Read more>>