MACON —This fall, Mercer University has instituted a Law and Public Service Program designed to promote volunteerism and draw attention to public interest law. While housed at Mercer's Walter F. George School of Law, the program is a University-wide initiative. Students throughout the University will have opportunities to engage in the community service while learning valuable lessons in cooperation.
The centerpiece of the program is experiential learning by students. Through new clinics and expanded public interest practicum opportunities, students will work on real cases and receive academic credit. In addition, the program coordinates and encourages volunteer community service and legal service opportunities by students, and assists students with summer placements in public service offices and in full-time public service careers after graduation.
A central feature of the program will be finding opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and cooperation in service between law students and students in the other schools and colleges of Mercer.
Students at the Law School have a strong record of volunteer public service, but the Law and Public Service Program marks the first effort toward a centralized coordination and development of such efforts. Two new faculty members, Tim Floyd and Sarah Gerwig-Moore, have been hired to develop the program. They will find and coordinate service opportunities, supervise the work of individual students, and teach the classroom components of the courses. As director of the Law and Public Service Program, Floyd reports to Dr. Horace Fleming, provost of the University.
"This program will involve students from many fields in the University other than Law, including those at the undergraduate level," says Fleming. "The program will educate students about public service and acquaint them with opportunities for serving their community. Through clinics, our students will gain practical insights into the legal system and how it works. At the same time, they will help provide valuable legal services to underrepresented persons in the community."
According to Floyd, "Mercer is an institution with a long history of concern for public service, and the breadth of our academic and professional programs provides numerous opportunities to work together to find creative and holistic solutions to client problems."