Law School, Hunton & Williams Team Up to Serve Low-Income Residents
The University of Virginia School of Law and Hunton & Williams LLP have established a pro bono partnership to provide free legal services to low-income Charlottesville residents. Volunteer lawyers and law students will work together to represent clients with legal problems in the areas of immigration and domestic relations.
"Inspired by a partnership between a major Boston law firm and the Harvard Law School, we have teamed with Hunton & Williams so that our students will be able to participate with their attorneys on a pro bono basis for the representation of low-income persons referred primarily by The Legal Aid Justice Center," Law School Dean John Jeffries. "We welcome this opportunity for our students to engage in important public service under the guidance of lawyers from a firm so highly respected as Hunton & Williams."
Through a pilot program started last September, four Hunton & Williams lawyers and eight Law School students began handling cases for immigrant clients seeking asylum in the United States. The success of that program persuaded the Law School and the firm to expand their partnership in the fall of 2005 by adding the representation of family law clients who face problems involving child custody, support, divorce, and other cases arising out of abusive relationships.
In addition to the free services of volunteer lawyers from its Richmond office, Hunton & Williams will renovate office space at the Legal Aid Justice Center, as well as employ a full-time lawyer experienced in family law litigation matters to develop the practice and manage the new office. The Law School will contribute a substantial portion of Assistant Dean for Pro Bono and Public Interest Kimberly Emery's time to represent clients, coordinate student volunteers, and help supervise the caseload. Another six to eight volunteer lawyers will join the current team and the number of law student volunteers is expected to increase to 20.