Pro bono work part of student’s life

Public service through pro bono work is becoming an ever increasing part of Julie Bushyhead’s life.
The second year law student at The University of Tulsa College of Law already has volunteered at Legal Services of Oklahoma and is looking forward to other programs including future work at the John 3:16 Mission.
The Skiatook resident and Owasso native is a member of the Public Interest Law Society helping young law students focus on helping others regardless of where their legal career takes them.
Currently the group is having fundraisers — auctions, talent shows and other activities — to raise funds for an account that will provide a small stipend for volunteers. These funds will make it possible for these law students to take on pro bono projects, offsetting expenses that might otherwise prohibit them from participating.
Bushyhead’s experience at Legal Aide included researching the Social Security Disability Law for an attorney, outlining reasons whether or not the client should receive the monthly payments.
It was during that time that Bushyhead realized she probably would focus her legal career on helping others in a special way.
Many people cannot afford an attorney, regardless of what they are charged, she said. ‘‘I already have found people are so appreciative when they get help with problems that seem overwhelming.’’
Even though she is a student, Bushyhead carefully emphasizes that she is only studying and must work under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Any projects as a student now, or in the future, will continue under those rules.
Bushyhead did not start out to be a lawyer.
She had chosen accounting and earned that degree through Langston University at OSU-Tulsa. But it was during that time she was required to take law classes related to accounting.
‘‘I found I was drawn more to law than accounting,’’ she said. That desire was strengthened when she started doing pro bono work.
A Pro Bono Law Fair was held early in the semester to introduce students to 20 different groups that could use their services.
Bushyhead is excited about the different learning opportunities available to her and plans to ‘‘make time’’ to get involved.
‘‘I think it is nice to help someone,’’ she continued. Their appreciation is the most rewarding experience of all.’’

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