Florida Coastal School of Law has been named to the 2015 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This is the highest federal recognition an institution can receive for its commitment to community, service-learning, and civic engagement.
Each year, the President of the United States recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes in communities through service. The Honor Roll recognizes performance in four categories: Economic Opportunity, Education, General Community Service, and Interfaith Community Service.
Coastal Law is one of only five law schools nationwide recognized by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in the General Community Service category.
Institutions named to this category have made a commitment to improving the quality of life of off-campus community residents, particularly low-income individuals.
During the 2015-16 academic year, Coastal Law students dedicated more than 99,000 hours of service to assist people in need while applying the skills they learned in the classroom in a practical environment.
Three programs were highlighted in the nomination as examples of Florida Coastal’s commitment to community engagement: Citizenship Day, the Public Interest Research Bureau, and the Florida Coastal School of Law Alternative Spring Break Migrant Worker Justice Immersion Program.
On Citizenship Day local attorneys and law students volunteer their time and knowledge to assist legal permanent residents seeking citizenship status. They counseled applicants on completing documents and what to expect during the naturalization process. The event allowed 80 lawful permanent residents to complete the naturalization application process.
The Public Interest Research Bureau is a student-volunteer research service that provides free legal research to lawyers working for public interest and poverty law organizations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina. Research assistance provided by the Bureau ranged from written memoranda to finding and gathering legal materials, such as judicial or administrative decisions. Bureau students support attorneys representing clients in important matters. Requesting attorneys use the Bureau’s free legal research service for individual client representation issues, anticipated litigation issues, or more general research purposes.
Florida Coastal School of Law Alternative Spring Break Migrant Worker Justice Immersion Program had two parts to it. The first part included a partnership between Florida Coastal professors, Florida Coastal graduates, Florida Coastal law students, and attorneys from Florida Legal Services. Florida Coastal professors and graduates traveled with law students to Pierson, Florida to conduct information sessions for farmworkers. The topics addressed included family law, immigration law, and employment law. After the presentations, the professors, graduates, law students, and Florida Legal Services’ attorney met with farmworkers to answer legal questions and to help complete forms. In addition, the Immigrant and Human rights clinic at Florida Coastal took several full immigration cases. The second part of the project involved Florida Coastal students performing client outreach work in migrant labor and agricultural worker communities. Under the direction of experienced Florida Rural Legal Services migrant rights attorneys, students performed outreach services at migrant camps, providing information on wage and labor rights, housing rights, working condition rights, and other legal rights under state and federal law. Students also assisted attorneys in surveying housing conditions and compliance with state and federal law in migrant camp housing and other migrant housing subject to state and federal standards. The students’ activities included interviewing potential clients for class and individual representation and conducting spot legal research on issues identified during the outreach work.

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