The Center’s Alternative Spring Break trips give students a chance to spend a week immersed in an area of law, engaging in related pro bono service. Students work with licensed attorneys to receive training and put their skills into practice.
Information sessions for 2020 trips will be held on January 14, 2020.
All students (1L, 2L, 3L, 4L, LLM, full-time, part-time) are encouraged to apply.
The Rural Access to Justice alternative spring break trip is a collaboration with the Georgia Legal Services Program (GLSP) and the Dougherty County Law Library. The trip is made possible by a generous grant from the Georgia Bar Foundation.
More than 25% of Georgia’s population lives in rural areas, but virtually all of the lawyers and legal services are concentrated in the metropolitan Atlanta area. In fact, at least five Georgia counties have zero active lawyers, and another 59 counties only have between 1-10. Infrastructural factors, such as limited access to the internet and public transportation, exacerbate the difficulty rural Georgians face in utilizing available resources.
Participants in the Rural Justice trip will spend the week gaining awareness about the distinct access to justice issues facing rural communities by working with GLSP lawyers who “ride circuit” to cover a thirty-one county area of southwest Georgia, meeting with a local judge and public defender, observing court, and participating in service delivery at the Self-Help Center at the Dougherty County Law Library. Students will then develop short videos and other self-help materials to serve rural Georgians.
The Immigration Detention alternative spring break trip is a collaboration with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI). Students will work with SIFI to provide pro bono legal representation to immigrants detained at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia and Irwin Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia.
Immigrants in detention are entitled to due process but many proceed without an attorney. Detained immigrants with counsel are ten times as likely to succeed in their cases than those who represent themselves. Many unrepresented immigrants seek asylum because of persecution in their home country. For them, having an attorney and winning their cases are a matter of life or death.
Working with SIFI, selected GSU law students will spend the week at a detention facility, meeting with clients, drafting documents, and interpreting for attorneys.
Movement Building: Reproductive Law
Trip Leaders: TBD
In partnership with the Center for Law, Health & Society, this trip is the first in a series of “Movement Building” trips intended to give GSU law students insight into the history and context of a particular movement, the importance of narrative building, and the many stakeholders who may be part of coalition building as the movement develops, engaging policymakers, litigators, grassroots organizers, and community organizations.
This year (the inaugural), we are going to explore reproductive law and engage with both pro-life and pro-choice entities to gain a better understanding of how different sides approach legislation and litigation in this area. Students participating in this trip will spend spring break hearing from organizations and policymakers involved in organizing for and against the Heartbeat Bill (HB 481) in order to situate this current litigation/legislative moment in the broader history and context of reproductive law in the U.S. The aim is to challenge students to consider the role a lawyer plays – or doesn’t – in shaping public law in a particular area.
Housing Instability’s Impact on Kids
The Housing/Kids alternative spring break trip is a collaboration with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF). The trip offers participants an opportunity to learn more about how place-based neighborhood lawyering positively impacts low-income children by stabilizing housing and reducing absenteeism.
Law students will spend the week in Atlanta, with advocates from AVLF’s Standing with Our Neighbors Initiative and the Truancy Intervention Project, working to break the cycle of poverty and improve student outcomes by focusing on the intersection of housing conditions and education. Under the supervision of AVLF attorneys, students will document housing conditions, interview clients, observe housing court, and assist with AVLF cases. Trip participants will gain an understanding of how a lack of affordable, stable housing increases student transiency and affects classroom performance–and how lawyers can make a difference.
Community Lawyering in Atlanta
Immigration Detention in Lumpkin, Georgia
Rural Justice in Dougherty County, Georgia
Landlord/tenant law in Atlanta
Criminal court observation in Jackson, Mississippi
NEWS: Alternative Spring Break Students Choose Service Learning Over Downtime
A cornerstone of the Center for Access to Justice’s Pro Bono Program is the Alternative Spring Break, which allows students to spend a week immersed in a substantive legal area while engaging in related pro bono service. For the second year, the spring break program received more applications than available spots.
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