TULAP still serves as pro-bono credit
Last year’s pro-bono controversy resolved Article by Brenan Keller
Tulane Law School will continue to allow students to work for the Tulane Legal Assistance Program for pro-bono credit.
Controversy concerning TULAP, which provides civil and criminal legal assistance to Tulane students and employees at a nominal fee, arose last academic year after the law school considered discontinuing pro-bono credit for the law school students who participate in the program.
Proponents of the change said that Tulane students could afford private legal counsel, therefore defeating the purpose of pro-bono work.
Tulane students and employees can rest assured that they can continue to count on strong legal assistance for the remainder of this academic year, said Julie Jackson, assistant dean for public interest programs.
“Each year, we reassess every pro-bono placement, so there’s nothing truly permanent because things change,” Jackson said.
Despite the decision to grant pro-bono credit, many of TULAP’s leaders said that denying credit would not have negatively impacted the program.
“I don’t think that [pro-bono credit] was a key incentive, but [it is] a bonus for the law students,” Jackson said.
Erica Woodley, the new director of TULAP, said that many students cannot afford to obtain proper counsel.
“I don’t think the majority of Tulane students can afford private counsel, and sometimes students need legal counsel for issues that are confidential,” Woodley said. “As adults, they may not feel comfortable going to their parents.”
TULAP Supervising Attorney Fred King said few students can afford tuition without assistance, and therefore many students cannot afford legal assistance.
“In the long run, we actually end up representing students that cannot afford attorneys,” King said. King said that the majority of clients who can afford to hire a private attorney do so with the misconception that TULAP lawyers are subpar because of the nominal fees of their services.
“One of the things that you have to appreciate about the program, besides that we’re the best thing since sliced bread for the student body’s legal issues, is that colleges and universities around the country have modeled their programs after ours,” King said.