Eight students at Elon University School of Law are offering a free wills clinic for individuals referred by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro.
Elon Law students participating include Max Armfield, Rebecca Branz, Melissa Duncan, Stephanie Fabricius, Chad Hinton, Erin Leach, Clinton Moore, and Tracy Williams, all participating through a 3-credit “Wills Drafting Clinic” offered by Margaret Kantlehner, professor of law at Elon University and the law school’s director of externships, preceptors, and the capstone leadership experience.
“By working directly with clients, these students are refining their ability to make important judgment calls required for the successful practice of law,” Kantlehner said. “Through client interviews and a thorough exploration of issues related to wills drafting, these students are becoming better prepared to counsel and advise clients. They will exercise counseling skills throughout their legal careers. There is also an important benefit for the individuals referred by Habitat for Humanity in that the wills clinic provides a way for them to plan for their families and to plan for the transfer of their home equity to the next generation.”
Kantlehner’s course in wills drafting operates as a mock law firm meeting, through which students are able to experience leadership roles and law firm protocol. Each week, students take a turn as the firm’s managing associate, presenting an ethical problem related to wills drafting and engaging the class in a detailed exploration of a wills drafting issue.
Rebecca Branz, one of the law students involved in the project, said, “This is among the best experiences I have had in law school. The combination of direct work with clients and the roundtable meeting format in the class gives us practical knowledge of how to prepare a will, instead of just the intellectual exercise in standard class formats. Plus, we get to provide a service to the community outside the law school for people who would not otherwise have access to legal advice or legal help.”
Kantlehner anticipates that the wills drafting clinic will be offered each year at Elon Law, serving low-income area residents, referred by Habitat or other non-profit organizations in the region.
For additional information about Elon Law’s program of study, including the preceptor program and capstone leadership experience, click here.