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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Under a new program, Brigham Young University law students may partner with participating attorneys to do free work for the underprivileged.
About 70 students attended a kickoff at the law school Tuesday aimed at getting students involved in the Utah State Bar/BYU Pro Bono Partnership.
As of Tuesday, two students have been teamed with lawyers as part of the partnership, which is designed to supplement existing pro bono services through Utah Legal Services and the Utah State Bar.
About 15 attorneys have volunteered to work with a student and take a case from the pro bono services.
While the attorney is responsible for the case, the students will be involved in research, writing, client meetings and other aspects of the case.
"Our primary goal, obviously, is increasing the amount of pro bono work done in Utah," said Toby Brown, the bar's director of communications.
If law students are engaged in pro bono work and they see the value and reward of the work, they will be much more likely to do such work when they become lawyers, Brown said.
The partnership also lowers barriers for lawyers to participate in pro bono work, he said. Sometimes lawyers say they would love to do pro bono legal work but they don't have the time.
The partnership makes "it easier for the existing lawyers," Brown said, while getting more lawyers engaged in pro bono work over the long term.
The partnership also gives the law school students experience and the ability to make connections, said James Carruth, the law school pro bono partnership coordinator.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)