Students Take Lead Role in Creating Gendered Violence and the Law Clinic

Students Start Pro Bono Effort
Bethany Krajelis
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
February 17, 2012

University of Chicago Law School students Eileen Ho and Mishan Wroe spent the past year working to fill a void in their school's offerings.

And with some help from the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services, the Women's Board at the university and two professors, the duo created a pro bono domestic violence project, an idea that led to the law school's January launch of its Gendered Violence and the Law Clinic.

Despite the countless hours they spent lining up funding, looking for a legal aid agency to partner with and recruiting students, Ho and Wroe will not participate in the project's first quarter of existence.

The seven students they recruited, however, will begin their work next week during a training session presented by Melanie Revett MacBride, an attorney at Legal Aid Society who will supervise the students under the partnership between her group and the project.

"It was just important to us that it existed," said Wroe, a 2L currently interning at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.

Ho, a 3L who plans to work at Sidley, Austin LLP after graduation, said while their law school provides students with classes, clinics and pro bono opportunities, it didn't have any options related to domestic violence or women's issues.

"We thought it was a good opportunity to start something and make it be pro bono," she said. "I think it's a great area for law students to get involved in."

Susan J. Curry, director of public interest law and policy at the law school, said the student-initiated domestic violence project meshes well with the school's new pro bono pledge program.

Susan J. Curry