August 2014 Featured Volunteer: John Curtis III, Ethan Sneed and William Hay
- Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma
This month LASO highlights interns from their Norman Law Office; John Curtis III, Ethan Sneed and William (Billy) Hay. These second year law students from the University of Oklahoma College of Law worked alongside attorneys at the LASO Disaster Relief Unit to help survivors of the May and June 2013 storms get their lives back in order.
The internship has provided opportunities for these students to develop practical legal skills. Time spent in the courtroom attending damages hearings, small claims proceedings, and hearings on various motions led to chances to observe adjudication, discuss issues with judges, schedule hearings with bailiffs, and file documents with the court clerk.
John, Ethan and Billy all agree that the most valuable part of their learning experience at the Disaster Relief Unit has been their interaction with clients.
“Surviving a natural disaster is obviously a very emotional experience, and I have enjoyed helping these individuals get the relief they deserve,” says John, “It has been very fulfilling to develop and use my legal skills to help people that were affected by the Moore tornadoes.”
John Curtis comes to LASO as a part of the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps JD program. John is interested in various areas of law; intellectual property, commercial transactions as well as energy and natural resources. He plans to pursue a practice in intellectual property law after he graduates. In addition to his studies at OU, John is an editor for the Oklahoma Journal of Law and Technology.
Ethan Sneed, a native Tulsan, attended Indiana University to obtain his undergraduate degree. Ethan says working with the disaster unit has given him the chance to help all sorts of people who were injured by the May tornados. "Being able to help people and get valuable career experience is very rewarding,” he said.
At OU Ethan is involved in the Public Interest Law Student Association and the Energy Resources Law Student Association. Upon earning his J.D., he hopes to practice in oil and gas law.
Billy Hay is originally from Huntingtown, Maryland and earned his undergraduate degree from West Virginia University. “In the case of disaster victims, the task of rebuilding can be complicated by post-tragedy scams and cons,” Billy explains. “An elderly client whose home was damaged in the storms was faced with fighting a fraudulent contractor. LASO attorneys stepped in to obtain a judgment against the contractor for the full $6,600 he had received from the client. It’s been a great learning experience to work with the disaster unit team and to be a part of these successful outcomes.”
Billy is the President of the OU Criminal Law Association and Vice President of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society. He plans on working in criminal law after graduation.
- Pro Bono/Legal Services