Georgia State Law Students Spend Spring Break with AVLF

KATIE KING | March 28, 2018

Through an intensive alternative spring break, law students learned about how their degree can combat housing instability and enrollment turnover.

This March, a dozen students from Georgia State University’s College of Law spent spring break with Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. The week-long program was designed for students to learn about the far-reaching effects of housing instability–and the role they can play as attorneys to stop it. GSU’s Center for Access to Justice developed and organized this alternative spring break.


Students met with staff from AVLF’s housing programs, the Saturday Lawyer Program and the school-based Standing with Our Neighbors program. AVLF also brought the students to Hollis Innovation Elementary School in Atlanta’s Westside. The law students met children that AVLF’s work directly impacts and saw firsthand the need for holistic services. 


Andrew Thompson, staff attorney for the Housing Court Assistance Center (HCAC), gave students a presentation about the causes and impacts of evictions. Students saw these effects in action while attending eviction court in Fulton County. HCAC opened in October 2017 to help tenants facing eviction understand their rights and stay in their homes. 


Other lessons were simple but important: “Bleach doesn’t kill mold.” 

While students learned the practical aspects of taking on a housing case–meeting with clients, writing demand letters–the experience was also about emotional learning. One student said, “I learned the impact that we can have as lawyers, even if public interest law isn’t the path you chose. I developed a deeper appreciation for people living in underserved communities. They are so resilient and deserve so much more than they are given. We have to invest in all of our city!” 


Other lessons were simple but important: “Bleach doesn’t kill mold.” 


GSU’s Center for Access to Justice was founded in 2016. The Center works to support people working to ensure meaningful access and equal treatment in the justice system in the American South. While their work is multidimensional, engaging in collaboration and research, a key tenant of their mission is training the next generation of lawyers to serve the public interest.


The Center for Access to Justice began this spring break program in 2017. 


Are you a law student who wants to become involved with AVLF’s programs? We always have opportunities to volunteer. Sign up here to find out more information.