South Carolina's Flagship University

Pro Bono Program

Volunteer Spotlight

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Alexandra Hegji

Alexandra Hegji
University of Alabama
JD Candidate, Class of 2010
SC Access to Justice Commission

I volunteer with the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission (SCATJ) because it offers me the opportunity to learn about a variety of issues facing the South Carolina court system outside of the traditional practice of law while also helping to give a voice to the under-represented of South Carolina.

For me, SCATJ has been an invaluable learning experience about public interest work. I had never realized just how many barriers South Carolinians (and likely residents of all the states) of low-income or of modest means face when trying to obtain justice for themselves. The barriers reach far beyond the inability to finance legal representation. They include the ethical dilemmas faced by clerks of court when they assist self-represented litigants, the difficulties in acquiring sign-language interpreters in the courtroom for the Deaf, and everything in between.

I have worked on a broad range of projects, some of my favorites being: helping to develop court-approved divorce forms for self-represented litigants and participating in a clerks of court workgroup to help maximize the assistance clerks of court can give self-represented litigants without practicing law.

Volunteering for the Access to Justice Commission has strengthened my law school experience by allowing me to use the analytical skills gained through my general coursework and reminding me what being a lawyer is all about: advocating for the public good.

Nate Horsley

Nate Horsley
University of Georgia
JD Candidate, Class of 2011
Team Advocacy

I volunteer with Team Advocacy because it allows me the opportunity to develop skills that can be used in my professional career along with an opportunity to give back to the community. I assist Team Advocacy staff with inspections of community care facilities for individuals who are limited or disabled. These inspections include resident interviews where I am learning valuable skills in how to uncover needed information and getting real world exposure to the health care field. I am sure this exposure and these skills will be important as I deal with clients in the future. Overall, volunteering with Team Advocacy is something I look forward to continuing in the future.

Alex Hegji

Lindsey M. Sink
Presbyterian College, 2008
JD Candidate, Class of 2011
Richland County CASA

I volunteer with the Guardian ad litem program because I want to make a difference in the lives of children. I chose this particular pro bono endeavor because I love children and I wanted to be an advocate for minors who are often without a voice in the legal system. As a guardian, I serve as a court-appointed special advocate for children who have usually been abused or neglected and need a friend who will look out for their best interests. Whether I am visiting with the child's family or appearing for a hearing on the child's behalf, my sole responsibility is to represent the child and advocate strongly for his or her welfare.

I am very interested in family law, and hope to pursue a career in that field after I graduate. I clerked for a firm last summer whose attorneys dealt in many areas of practice, including family law. As a direct result of my experience as a guardian, I felt more confident in my ability to assist as an advocate for domestic clients. Additionally, when I attended juvenile court hearings during my Judicial Observation Experience last summer, I understood the proceedings and felt very grateful that my prior experience as a guardian taught me a great deal of the judicial language. Being a guardian has also truly supplemented and enriched my law school education, as the experience has taught me so much about the intricacies of domestic law. I have learned tough lessons about the world and the hardships that many families face everyday, but I have also learned to appreciate and value relationships and the people who have advocated for me in my life. I would recommend involvement with the guardian ad litem program to anyone who is interested in pro bono work; I truly believe that every guardian makes a great difference in the life of every child whom we are fortunate enough to serve.

Megan Daisy Westbrook

Megan Daisy Westbrook
North Carolina State University, 2009
JD Candidate, Class of 2012

I volunteered with Logan Elementary because I wanted to take advantage of the volunteer opportunities the Pro Bono office offered while giving myself a break from the stress of law school. Helping my fifth grade class try to stay on grade level in math helped me remember how fortunate I am and not get caught up in the hectic schedule of law school. I learned a lot from my students and volunteering this past fall has inspired me to become a Guardian Ad Litem. Volunteering through the Pro Bono office has been one of the highlights of my legal education and I truly believe volunteering is good for the soul.