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Oklahoma Lawyers Making Equal Justice for all a Reality

OCU LAW Hosts Pro Bono & Public Interest Law Recognition Luncheon

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Published by OCU LAW on 02 Nov 2009 at 10:30 am

OCU LAW celebrated the transformative power of pro bono legal service on communities and individuals on Friday, October 30 with a special Pro Bono and Public Interest Law Recognition Luncheon.

Held in conjunction with the American Bar Association’s inaugural National Pro Bono Celebration Week, the luncheon honored student recipients of the Dean’s Summer Pro Bono and Public Interest Law Fellowships, their host organizations, and outstanding law student volunteers. The National Pro Bono Week Celebration focuses attention on the free legal work lawyers do in their communities to improve the lives of the less fortunate in society.

“Tens of thousands of lawyers donate their time to provide free legal services to Americans of limited means. Their service helps to make the concept of ‘justice for all’ a reality,” says OCU LAW Dean Lawrence K. Hellman. “OCU LAW students volunteer selflessly, spending hours providing income tax assistance to community members, will and estate planning documents for senior citizens and homeowners of limited means, and legal assistance under the supervision of lawyers to the homeless, the incarcerated, and victims of domestic violence.”

Hellman cited the example of one student, second year law student Karli McMurray, who spent the summer in the West African nation of Ghana. The award of a Dean’s Summer Pro Bono and Public Interest Law Fellowship in 2009 enabled her to travel to Accra, Ghana, attend classes at a university there, and volunteer as a law clerk for a judge. While in Ghana, McMurray visited a village with twenty-five orphans, all of whose parents had died of AIDS. With no orphanage in the village to assist and care for these children, the community struggles to raise the children. Karli McMurray has pledged to raise funds for and to assist with the building of an orphanage for the village. McMurray’s life mission and goals as a lawyer were transformed by her experience — highlighted at the luncheon with a short film about her journey in the summer of 2009:

 

Pro Bono and Public Interest Law - Karli McMurray from OCU School of Law on Vimeo.

Guest speaker Sally Crawford also highlighted the transformative impact of pro bono service. The video of her remarks is below:


 

Sally Crawford's Remarks at the Pro Bono and Public Interest Recognition Luncheon from OCU School of Law on Vimeo.

Crawford is a member of the State Bar of Texas and pro bono coordinator of the Dallas office of Jones Day. While practicing in the areas of corporate finance and corporate and general securities law, she has been actively involved in pro bono work since 1986 and was named the pro bono attorney of the year by the Women’s Advocacy Center in 2003 and by the Dallas Bar Association in 2005. Most recently, she received the Frank J. Scurlock Award for outstanding pro bono work in the field of providing legal services to indigents.

The video of the awards portion of the program also is available to view:

Pro Bono & Public Interest Awards from OCU School of Law on Vimeo.

Organizations interested in participating in this program for the summer of 2010 as a host site or to donate to the Dean’s Fellowship Fund are encouraged to contact the OCU LAW Professional and Career Development Center at (405) 208-5332.

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