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Future Lawyers: UF Alternative Spring Break 2018

During the week of March 5, 2018 seven law school students from the University of Florida traded in swim suits for business suits to join CLSMF during the University of Florida Law School Alternative Spring Break. This annual tradition invites law school students to spend their spring break at a legal aid organization to learn about the practice of public interest law and the power it can have on those who could otherwise not afford an attorney.

This year, CLSMF hosted the alternative spring breakers for a week focused on veterans. On day one, students had the opportunity to hear from Claud Nelson, Pro Bono Program Officer with the Florida Bar Foundation on the importance of pro bono work, and Judge McCune of the Marion County Veterans Treatment Court. Later, their afternoon was spent at the CLSMF Helpline where they were able to shadow attorneys taking live calls.

Day two consisted of trainings on wills, advance directives, and veterans benefits. The trainings were designed to prepare students for the Veterans Wills Clinic taking place the following day. After lunch, students participated in mock client interviews followed by a trip to the Orange County Courthouse to meet with Judge Whitehead who oversees the Ninth Circuit Veterans Treatment Court.

Day three culminated in the “super bowl” of the week: the Veterans Wills Clinic. With the generous support of the Orlando Vet Center, the UF law school students, CLSMF Pro Bono Team, and Veterans Advocacy Project put on a tour de force legal clinic. Over 20 veterans came to the Orlando Vet Center to meet with pro bono attorneys who discussed estate planning
measures with them including advice on wills, drafting and execution of advance directives/healthcare surrogacies. For some clients, wills were drafted and are to be executed at a pro bono attorney’s office in the near future. All of the students were able to individually interview and meet with veterans and participate in the pro bono attorney-veteran meetings. It was a long day for sure, but the law school students enjoyed being able to serve those who have served.

As a wrap up to the week-long excitement, the law school students debriefed on their week and gave valuable insight into making next year’s Alternative Spring Break even better. One
student wrote,”I really enjoyed this week and I cannot thank CLSMF enough for introducing me to the work that you all do. I always had an interest in pursuing a public interest career, but now I can definitely see myself going through with that, and I owe that realization to this week.” And on that positive note CLSMF said good-bye to the law school students, wished them well, and closed the book on another successful, educational, and impactful UF Law Alternative Spring Break.