Field Placement Supervisor
Managing Attorney for Volunteer Engagement
Field Placement Office
615 Baronne Street, Suite 203
New Orleans, LA 70113
Field Placement Website
Description of Field Work
Externship students will primarily work one-on-one with self-represented litigants, who visit the Self-Help Resource Center for legal information typically regarding divorces, domestic issues, and custody, visitation and child support. The SHRC operates in the Orleans Civil District Court (Mon., Wed., Fri. – 9 to noon) and at the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna (Tues.,Thurs. 10-noon). Externs generally will be expected to attend the Friday morning sessions of the Self-Help Resource Center. They provide a vital service to a substantial portion of the population that does not qualify for civil legal aid and are unable to afford an attorney.
At the Self-Help Desk, volunteers provide court-approved forms and assist visitors with completing these forms. Volunteers do not give legal advice. Instead, they assist visitors by providing them with access to legal forms, information, and referrals. Students will receive invaluable experience from working one-on-one with visitors on their legal issues; they will gain insight into the workings of the domestic court system; and they will become familiar with the procedural challenges many face within the legal system.
Additionally, students will have the opportunity to assist Pro Bono Project staff attorneys with the direct representation of clients. Students will be able to meet the externship program's writing requirement by researching and drafting legal memoranda related to these cases as well as by researching policy issues related to the centers and drafting recommendations for developing self-represented litigant resources in keeping with other national models. Most importantly, students will become a part of a legal community that is focused on helping those in need.
Students interested in family law, juvenile law, civil litigation, and public interest law are encouraged to apply. Students must enroll for a minimum of 2 credits (120 hours) in the externship course to be eligible for this placement.
Students may want to "tether" a doctrinal upper level elective to this externship experience. For a tethered experience, the Office of Skills and Experiential Learning recommends students enroll in courses related to family law or civil procedure.
Students should email Prof. Linares at firstname.lastname@example.org with a resume and cover letter addressed to Kathleen Legendre and should also submit the externship application form available on the externship homepage.