ANN ARBOR – Law students at the University of Michigan have formed a group of 200 volunteers to provide pro bono assistance to organizations across the state that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Michigan Law COVID Corps is currently helping local groups with legal issues brought on by the health crisis and it hopes to expand its services.
“Medical staff are on the front lines, but lawyers are confronting the pandemic’s shockwaves,” Maiya Moncino, the group’s founder, said in a news release.
“Most law students don’t know much about epidemiology, but we do know about unemployment insurance, eviction proceedings, or civil rights litigation. COVID-19 has created a whole host of legal problems, and we want to show up for our communities.”
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Moncino, who recently completed her first year at U-M’s Law School, launched the volunteer group a month ago. The law school recognizes the group as an official pro bono project.
The Michigan Law COVID Corps is split into four task forces:
- Workers’ Rights and Small Business Support
- Housing Rights
- Voting Rights
Those with legal or research needs related to coronavirus can request pro bono assistance at tinyurl.com/COVIDCorps.
Liz Ryan, president and CEO of the Youth First Initiative calling for an end to youth incarceration, said the group helped with several of her organization’s projects.
“The COVID Corps supported several of our high priority COVID-19 rapid response projects, including outreach, writing, legal analysis, and data gathering," Ryan said in a news release. "They did an outstanding job on these projects. We were so impressed with their dedication, professionalism, and high quality work.”
To date, the COVID Corps has volunteered hundreds of hours on 15 projects. With the school year finished, leaders in the COVID Corps say they are ready to take on more work.
“I believe it is our responsibility as members of the legal community to provide support in any way we can,” said rising second-year law student and task force leader Brooke Simone in a news release. “We hope to alleviate the burden many Michiganders are shouldering while mobilizing law students to get involved.”