January Intersession Students

A new year of Pro Bono!

In January 2016, eleven CSL students spent a week volunteering at the Mississippi Center for Justice (MCJ) performing legal research, estates probate work & BP Oil Claims.  On the last day, the CSL student team presented their findings to the MCJ staff.  A special thanks to all CSL students for volunteering!

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Our 2015-16 Pro Bono Student Ambassadors!

Thanks to our new 2015-16 Pro Bono Student Ambassadors who will promote the CSL Pro Bono Program at the law school and greater Charlotte community.  This board will staff a Pro Bono helpdesk at the law school to answer student questions and will also perform outreach to share information about the award winning CSL Pro Bono Program.  To contact any Pro Bono Student Ambassador, please send email to probono@charlottelaw.edu.  Thanks to Nikki, Ashley, Denise A., Denise B., Chet, Yvonne, Katie & Virgil for your help this academic year!!!

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Save The Best For Last

This was the culmination of Pro-bono Service 2015 in Haiti. The day elapsed in a flash as we prepare to join our host   for dinner. These are the blessed hearts who open their homes and offices to us during the week of Probono service, and who dedicated their time and service to accommodate us in the best way possible.

We had dinner at Jean Henry and Chantal Ceant’s residence. It was an occasion where we express our gratitude for the services offered to us while in Haiti, for which we are most grateful. The Ceant’s family presented each student with a certificate of participation. At dinner Jean Henry and Chantal Ceant took the time to express their gratitude to have the students from Charlotte School of Law in Haiti, working for a common goal to build a better nation.

The week would not be complete without Ludwing Leblanc who spent each day with us teaching and guiding us. Carine Leblanc, and Daphnee Leblanc who were also very supportive. The information I learned from them and the knowledge they depart has prepared me to be a better student, I am confident that such information will prepare me to be a good lawyer.

My week in Haiti would not be possible without the guidance of Dean Pierce and Professor Lew. The week was very intense, but yet they face each day with enthusiasm and an eager spirit. Their guidance, presence, positive influence, teaching and instructions will remain with me for a lifetime. I am forever grateful.

Denise

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Community Service at the Orphanage in Haiti

Our week in Haiti would not be complete without visiting an orphanage. We visited the Orphanage Damabiah. The children were happy to see us. Some welcomed us by touching us and holding  our hands, while few ran away from us, as they were not sure exactly how to accept strange faces in their homes. We intermingled with the children as we tried to communicate to them in French. Overall the experience was good. We did a second visit to the orphanage on June 20, 2015 where we delivered food packages that we purchased. We did not get the opportunity to see the children enjoying those items, but without a doubt we know they will. Helping, and the thought of helping made a huge difference. This was just another way in which we choose to serve the underserved in Haiti.

As a Charlotte School of Law student I am proud to be a part of a mission that help the underserved. We will continue to help not only the orphans in Haiti, but we will help where the need arises.

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Denise

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A Week of Learning

Over the time we spent in Haiti, we had the opportunity to learn about their judicial system. We were also privileged to sit in on some of their court cases. Additionally, we got the chance to interact with those in the court system through various meetings.

One of my most memorable court cases was a civil case court hearing that I attended at the Court of Appeals. The case lasted approximately four hours. It was rather interesting to see the attitude of the lawyers in the courthouse, and how passionately they defended each case, I remember thinking, “they really express truly strong emotions in their courts!” Subsequently my observation of more cases revealed that the lawyers were passionate in all their presentations, and were very argumentative –combative even.

Following our visits to the Court of Appeals, we attended a brief training at the Bar Association with the Secretary of the Bar.

While in Haiti we also visited the Chief of Police and we got a tour of the different departments within that unit. The chief of police work entailed protecting citizens and their assets via the use of strategic plans, and proper investigations. It was a very informative meeting as we got a brief overview of the criminal system in Haiti.A common problem found in most countries is lack of resources to combat crime. Haiti also suffers from the said problems. However, in spite of the inadequate resources, the police force is working with the available resources to combat crimes within the country.

We had the opportunity to meet with the Georges Henry, the Secretary General of the Chamber of Conciliation and Arbitration of Haiti. He gave us a brief overview of the Chamber for Arbitration and Mediation in Haiti. The Chamber of Conciliation and Arbitration has recently been established in Haiti. Presently there are 40 Arbitrators and 20 Mediators. The aim is to have more lawyers in Haiti using this newly established system. The Bar Association of Haiti helps to advertise the Mediation and Arbitration system to lawyers, and encourage them to use the system offered in Haiti. Arbitration and Mediation are beneficial because they are alternate ways to prevent cases going through the lengthy court system. Both expedite the time in which cases can be resolved. Prior to having Arbitration system in Haiti, lawyers would use the International Arbitration Chamber.

Presently mainly large firms use the Arbitration and Mediation system. It is likely that once the efficiency and the benefit of the system is disseminated to others, more lawyers will start to use the system in Haiti.   Presently Arbitration is only allowed for commercial cases.The overview was quite informative and helpful, as it better allowed me to compare the American system with the Haitian system of Mediation and Arbitration.

Day 5, our last day of Probono services in Haiti. The morning heat bore through our tired bodies as we started the last day. Our first stop was at the Tribunal Court. The Tribunal Court sees small claims cases.  There were no court cases in session on our arrival to the court. However, the courthouse was filled with people. We had an opportunity to see the layout of the court house. The layout was very similar to most of the courthouses we visited in Haiti. The occupants in the courthouse reminded us that taking pictures were prohibited inside the courthouse. The lessons we learnt and the way we learnt them, will remain with us for a lifetime. Regardless of where we are, the basic principles remain when one is in a courthouse.

Our last visit was to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court receives at least 200 cases per year. Of the 200 cases, 150 are seen and the remaining 50 are rolled over to the next year. The cases seen by the Supreme Court includes both civil and criminal cases. We had a brief tour of the different departments located on the campus of the Supreme Court. We were privileged to see the deliberation room of the justices. We were privileged to meet with 3 of the Justices of the Supreme Court, we engaged in a brief meeting and asked a few questions.

The above is just a fraction of an intense week of activities and meeting in Haiti. The knowledge I gleaned and the experiences I had for the entire week is phenomenal, and will last me a lifetime!

Denise

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A Wonderful Experience 

It’s been almost a week since we finished our week in Haiti. I have been trying to figure out what to close on, how to sum it all up in the best fashion. I think what I have discovered to be the most important fact noted this week, is that Haiti has a long way to go, but with the help of bright minds and passionate people anything can be accomplished.

On the eve of our last day, I sat at the dinner table with a wonderful woman by the name of Jane. She told me the entire Haitian history story, from discovering the island, to reigning dictators, then all the way up to present day. The significance of the history lesson was that I left dinner understanding so much better, the mindset of the Haitian people and why the judicial system is the way it is. Haiti has been through hard times again and again over the past centuries, and it this is what I had an issue relating to. I live in a country where there never have been any dictators, I cannot relate closely. But in Haiti, corrupted leaders revolved in a pattern for years and everyone can relate. The Haiti judicial system is so different than the American one, because our countries pasts are so different. 

I think the next thing to do is to really dive deep into understanding the culture; if we can understand the culture and the citizen mindset then we can move forward as a team to improve. The hour long history lesson gave me such a better understanding, but it was just the tip of the iceberg. I would love to know more about the people living in Haiti now, what their needs are, their goals, their wishes and how they feel about their justice system. For me, this trip has opened doors to comparative law interests, which I never expected.

I hope to return to Haiti and continue service for years to come. Everyone I encountered was beyond welcoming and friendly. Again our hosts, the Ceant family, were amazing. Everyone at the LeBlanc law firm and family members were wonderful, especially Mr. Ludwig. I cannot say thank you enough to everyone involved. I hope to see you all again. 

Below are some of my favorite photos from the week.

– Molly Kight 

  

  

(Where their “White House” stood before the earthquake, now being rebuilt)

  (The Supreme Court) 

   

  ( View from the foundation terrace)  

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Humbled

Daphne Leblanc asked a group of us about what our parents had feared about us coming to Haiti and if our views had changed. Preparing for this trip, all I heard were negative stereotypes about the country. I am thankful that this trip changed all of the negative views that was bestowed upon me. The country is very rich in culture and history and there is a side of the country that you never see in pictures online that is very beautiful.

This trip was very rewarding, I was given opportunities to meet dignitaries that most people in the country would never meet. We were able to work on strategies to win a case with lawyers, and receive advice about law school, from people ranging from supreme court justices, bar presidents, to the former minister of justice.

I am very pleased to have been awarded the opportunity by Dean Pierce to travel on this trip, and I hope that the next group of students next summer appreciate this rewarding experience just as much as I did.

-Selitta

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