Law Students Swap Out Sun & Fun for Helping Others

The view for a group of college students' spring break isn't the white sandy beaches and clear blue water you would expect -- it's the Key City skyline, seen from a conference room in the ninth floor of the Enterprise building.

Eighteen students from Texas Tech in Lubbock and Texas Wesleyan in Fort Worth are spending their vacation from complicated cases and stacks of law books -- with more complicated cases and stacks of law books.

"What you learn in law school is more the law, and not how to practice law, so I thought this would be a good way to see how to actually practice law," said Dustin Wilson, a third-year law student.

It's part of a program that brings these future lawyers to the Legal Aid of Northwest Texas office in Abilene to get real-world experience dealing with pro-bono cases.

"We started off viewing a jury panel selection and actually got to watch and see the outcome of the case, which was really interesting. Then this morning, we did prove-ups, which are helping people get divorces, uncontested," Camesha Little explaind.

And for third-year law students like Little, seeing and doing in this capacity is invaluable for their futures.

"Being here this week has actually rekindled a lot of the feelings and gratification I got from working in social services," Little said.

Law students from several Texsas universities are spread out all over the state, particularly in areas needing pro-bono desperate for legal help -- making a big difference for people that truly need it.

"Anyone interested in legal services work already knows they're not going to make a ton of money -- you do it because you get a ton of personal reward," explained Shelby Jean, director of the Pro Bono/Bar Relations/Communications with Legal Aid of NW Texas. "A hug from a client, a plant, a thank you. And that sometimes means more than money."

So while it's not your typical spring break soaking up sun and fun -- at least these students are soaking up the knowledge.

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