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Justice Bus provides mobile, free legal services

March 19, 2010

Students from the College of Law have organized a Justice Bus to take free legal services on the road. Students will provide free income tax preparation for low-income taxpayers, help with wills for first responders, as well as seminars on consumer protection and unemployment insurance.

Mary Juetten, a third-year law student who helped organize the Justice Bus, said she was inspired by hearing about outreach work done by a college in California.

"Living in Phoenix during the financial crisis and knowing how much other states appeared to be doing to help their residents, I thought that there must be a better way here in Arizona to help homeowners facing foreclosure," Juetten said.

Paul Schiff Berman, dean of the College of Law, praised the student initiative.

"As a public law school, we take seriously our role in providing legal services to the broader community, while training future generations of public-spirited lawyers," Berman said. "The Justice Bus expands that mission beyond the Phoenix metropolitan area, and enlarges the law school's reach to a much broader swath of Arizona. I could not be more proud of our students for hatching this idea."

The Justice Bus is organized by the student-run Consumer Advocacy Protection Program, and is supported by donations from the Shoumaker Family, the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association and other partners.

"The Justice Bus is the perfect complement to the Law School's existing community outreach and social embeddedness activities," said Marcy Karin, director of the Work-Life Policy Unit in the College's Civil Justice Clinic and faculty advisor for CAPP. "Through this program, students have the opportunity to network and work with volunteer lawyers as they bring legal information to areas across the state with populations who otherwise might not have access to these services."

About 25 students took the bus to Prescott Valley for their first stop where they were joined by a number of local attorneys.

The group plans to have several events in the Phoenix area throughout the year and take the Justice Bus on the road twice - once in the spring and once in the fall. In October, they plan to travel to Sierra Vista, where they will again provide information on consumer protection and unemployment insurance. They also hope to add sessions on mortgage foreclosure, bankruptcy, and to help small business owners with corporate law questions.

Judy Nichols,
(480) 727-7895
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law