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Charleston school, nonprofit form Homeless Justice Legal Clinic

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A new partnership in Charleston probably won’t see any objections.

Charleston School of Law students and One80 Place have teamed up to create the Homeless Justice Legal Clinic and to provide legal services for the shelter’s clients, particularly with issues regarding public benefits and housing.

For the fall semester, the nonprofit has accepted four third-year students who will assist homeless and low-income clients in a variety of issues. The students will be supervised by One80 Place’s Director of Legal Services Jeff Yungman, an alumnus of Charleston School of Law, the college said in a news release.

The four student participants are Taylor Rumble, Skylar Leaton, Erika Collins and Lysten Thomas. 

The clinic builds on the long-standing partnership that the law school has had with One80 Place and provides students the opportunity to learn about public interest law.

Dean Larry Cunningham said participants will gain valuable experience through the program and also have the opportunity to give back to the community.

Under the law school’s motto, “pro bono populi,” or for the good of the people, students are required to perform 50 hours of pro bono work prior to graduation.

“I am very excited about this new partnership,” Cunningham said in a statement. “I am committed to expanding opportunities for students to get real-world, hands-on experience through even more clinics and externships.” 

In addition to supervising, Yungman, who has overseen 90 students in their externships or pro bono work, will lead a weekly seminar to teach participants the necessary skills to represent One80 Place’s clients, the release said.

“In the seminar, I will present information on a legal topic —Social Security, landlord/tenant law, etc. — that the students will encounter with the clients at One80 Place so that they will have some knowledge of the law involved,” Yungman said. “In addition, part of the seminar will involve ‘class rounds,’ where the students will discuss the cases they are working on to get feedback and guidance.” 

Since the shelter has had to reduce the number of guests during the pandemic, Yungman said he has also offered pro bono legal services to The Navigation Center, Neighborhood House and the North Charleston Police Department to help any clients who are homeless and in need of legal representation.

Though only four students are participating in the fall semester, Cunningham said the program will expand and be open to more participants in the future.

Reach Teri Errico Griffis at 843-849-3144.

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