In February, Cornell Law School contacted the Foundation with an unusual request. Their law students wanted to come to Florida for spring break, but not for fun and sun. Instead, they wanted to work for legal aid organizations as part of the school’s Spring Break Service Trip program.
The Foundation assisted in connecting the students to five of its grantees in Miami – Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) Pro Bono, Community Justice Project, Dade Legal Aid, Legal Services of Greater Miami, and Catholic Legal Services of Miami.
Under the supervision of staff attorneys at those organizations, the students observed client meetings, researched various topics such as immigration, guardianship and family law, and attended divorce and domestic violence proceedings.
“Sitting in a judge’s courtroom and seeing the rules that I’ve learned in Civil Procedure and Evidence being used was a real treat,” said student Michaela Kamemoto.
“The time at Dade Legal Aid was a fascinating and memorable experience,” added Weigang Meng. “The attorneys are great mentors. They took us to court, explained the litigation strategies used in court and gave practical feedback on researching and drafting memorandum of law. I am inspired to know so many respectable and kind attorneys who are really making a difference. The most important thing I learned from them is that being a lawyer is much more than billable hours, he/she should also ‘put something back.'”