TU College of Law gives new students orientation to service
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Published on 8/23/07
First-year students at The University of Tulsa College of Law have barely settled in to their new surroundings, but that hasn’t stopped them from honoring a commitment to give back.
As an addition to the law school’s Foundations of Legal Studies orientation program, more than 170 law students, faculty and administrators volunteered at one of nine area non-profits, including: the Community Food Bank, Animal Aid Thrift Shop, Habitat For Humanity, Day Center for the Homeless, Life Senior Services, Mental Health Association, Youth Services of Tulsa, Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum and the Tulsa Area Chapter American Red Cross.
“The American Bar Association suggests all working attorneys engage in 50 hours of pro bono service a year,” explains Jennifer Flexner, assistant director of career services and pro bono coordinator at the law school. “This project is one way to instill the idea of community service early in our law students’ education. It also serves as an opportunity for incoming law students to interact with area non-profits, faculty and, of course, their classmates.”
For several years the TU College of Law has encouraged community service among its student body, particularly through the free legal clinics the college operates. This academic year marks the first time the law school’s culture of service extended to students before classes begin, and the organizations benefiting from the students’ time couldn’t be happier.
“We can’t even begin to say how helpful the TU law students were for us,” said Cindy Stevens, communications manager for the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. “It’s a tremendous lift for us to have a group get so much done and have fun doing it.”
Whitney Mauldin, a third-year law student from Bartlesville, Okla., served as a student advisor and accompanied a group of 51 incoming first-year law students at the Community Food Bank. Mauldin said her volunteer and pro bono work has made her a better student and will provide valuable real life experience that will benefit her after graduation. She said she’s glad to help initiate a new class into the generous culture the law school fosters.
“I think lawyers are in a unique position to really help their community through community service and pro bono work,” Mauldin said. “This project in particular is a good way to involve these students early and hopefully assist them in remaining involved throughout their lives.”
As classes begin for the new academic year, the new class, which is among the most academically accomplished in the law school’s history, will be able to continue pro bono involvement with Tulsa-area groups such as Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Neighbor for Neighbor Legal Clinic and Tulsa Lawyers for Children.