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      Commonwealth Law News

      Widener Law Commonwealth to Observe National Pro-Bono Week

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      National Pro Bono Week

      Students at Widener Law Commonwealth will observe National Pro-Bono week with various activities and speakers on campus.

      National Pro Bono week will kick off on Oct. 23 on the Widener Law Commonwealth campus.

      The law school's Public Interest Law Society has a full week of activities planned to bring awareness to the importance of providing legal aid to the community.

      The Public Interest Law Society at Widener Law Commonwealth is a student group on campus that aims to bridge the gap between law students and those seeking legal advice or advocacy in the community. The group hosts events on campus such as Wills for Heroes, expungement clinics and other services for people who may not be able to afford legal services.

      "National Pro Bono week brings awareness to the need for access to free legal services in the community," Cheri Sparacino, president of PILS, said. "You are not just helping people when you provide services and support – you are also applying the skills you have learned as a law student."

      A lunch and learn presentation from Widener Law Commonwealth student La Tasha Williams and Giovanni Reid titled "The School to Prison Pipeline: How You Can Make a Difference," is also planned for the week. Reid served 26 years in state prison after being sentenced to life in prison as a juvenile. After meeting in a criminal justice course, Williams began advocating on Giovanni's behalf after he lost his appeal. Reid was recently released as a result of the Supreme Court's decision that life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional.

      National Pro-Bono Week is held each October, and this year the list of events includes a bake sale to raise money for the Harrisburg YWCA, a lecture from the Secretary John Wetzel of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections about criminal justice reform, and a donation drive for the Bethesda Mission.

      Additional law school organizations participating in National Pro Bono Week include the Black Law Students Association and Women's Law Caucus.

      "We encourage all of our student organizations to embrace pro bono work and to give back to the community not just during the national observance, but throughout the entire year," said Mary Catherine Scott, director of Student Organizations and interim director of the Central Pennsylvania Law Clinics. "Participating in pro bono activities allows students to use their skills and fill a vital need in the community."

      Click here to see a full list of events.


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