Mississippi College Law School Continues Services During Health Emergency
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mississippi College Law School legal clinic staff is offering valuable services in metro Jackson.
It’s come with rapid adjustments for more than a month as USA coronavirus cases rise dramatically and that includes Mississippi.
MC Law Dean Patrician Bennett appreciates how students quickly pivoted in legal clinics to help people during this unprecedented crisis.
“I am very proud of the work and effort our students are putting forward to continue to make invaluable contributions in the lives of families amid these challenging circumstances,” Bennett said.
“Students are experiencing extraordinary challenges, but they are caring for others during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bennett, an MC Law graduate. “I am grateful to be part of this law school’s caring culture.”
The Mission First legal clinic tasks students and faculty to work with needy Mississippians. Another MC Law clinic is presently using Zoom meetings to serve families seeking to finalize adoptions. A new Veterans Law Clinic reaches out to men and women in the military. There are a total of eight legal clinics operating with the support of the Jackson-based law school.
“At MC Law, practical learning is in our DNA,” Bennett said. “It is who we are, and what we are known for.”
In these clinics, MC Law students represent real clients under the guidance of experienced professors with expertise in each area of the law.
Carlyn Hicks serves as director of the Mission First Legal Aid Clinic. Crystal Welch leads the adoption clinic.
An MC Law instructor, Welch participated in the clinic’s first Zoom virtual adoption in mid-April. With many professionals across the USA working remotely on their computers at home or other settings, more adoptions via Zoom meetings are expected this Spring.
Mississippi College Law clinic staffers report an uptick in questions from Mississippians regarding child custody/visitation orders, and allowable travel among adults to exchange children. Students are researching key legal issues and drafting “know your rights” pamphlets on these topics, Welch says.
In recent weeks, Hicks sees online contacts climbing with the Mission First Legal Aid Clinic. Many questions are tied to unemployment benefits as well as wrongful evictions by landlords in the middle of the coronavirus health emergency. Many Mississippians suddenly lost their jobs as a result of the deadly new virus.
Gov. Tate Reeves recently signed several executive orders. With the health and safety of Mississippians in mind, the governor’s stay-in-place order statewide remains in effect. On Friday, Reeves extended his original order one week through April 27.
For more information on Mission First go to missionfirst.org/legal-aid. The clinic is located at 275 Roseneath Street in Jackson. To request legal assistance go to missionfirst.org/legal-aid-form. Crystal Welch can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the adoption clinic at MC Law School.