8 students from the University of Mississippi spends spring break with AVLF.
8 law students and Professor Deborah Bell from the University of Mississippi School of Law spent their spring break working in the Safe Families Office. The students dove in on Monday by observing Protective Order Court , and then debriefing with Judge Allison Arce. Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Cynthia Wright kicked of their Tuesday. The students also got to sit down with the head of Fulton's ADR office Jerry Wood, the program director of Business Court Megan Johnson, and Deputy D.A. Sally G. Butler of the Crimes Against Women and Children Unit. The day wound down with a happy hour attended by some of AVLF's best and brightest volunteers, giving the students real insight on the rewards and challenges of pro bono service. Wednesday morning got off to an early start in Drug Court with Judge Downs. The students were also fortunate to stay for opening arguments in a murder trial right after, followed by intake at the Safe Families Office. The week culminated in the students representing two clients in Protective Order cases on Friday under the supervision of AVLF's Liz Whipple. Summers Robertson and Lee Watson negotiated a consent order, while Melissa Groover and ReToya Gilmer had a hearing with a Respondent represented by counsel. After a well-argued case on both sides, the students carried the day, ending their week on a triumphant note for their client and themselves.
Thanks go out to all of the amazing people mentioned above who made this week not only possible, but also unparalleled. Special gratitude to Connie White and Max Arrechea in Judge Wright's office for making so many of the week's highlights a reality. Cheers to Debbie Segal for sparking this partnership (and for a lovely dinner). Above all, to the 8 fantastic students who made the week a pleasure for the Safe Families staff and volunteers.