Students from the University of Richmond (UR) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) will soon get the chance to escape the ivory tower and get an education in the real world.
Beginning this fall, the University of Richmond Downtown, a satellite campus in a donated building, will house three programs staffed with about 50 students each year. The project was developed by UR’s T.C. Williams School of Law School and Bonner Center for Civic Engagement.
The three programs are:
• The Harry L. Carrico Center for Pro Bono Service. It will allow law students to assist local attorneys in working with domestic violence victims and low-income couples seeking divorce;
• The Richmond Families Initiative. UR faculty and undergraduates will conduct research on programs aiding Richmond families; and
• The Family Law Clinic. This multidisciplinary project will involve the law school’s National Center for Family Law and VCU. UR law students and VCU graduate students in psychology and social work will collaborate on services for indigent families and children in foster care. “Every family law case, every child case needs much more than a lawyer,” says Dale Margolin, director of the Family Law Clinic. The program “is a chance for students to act like real lawyers and real psychologists and social workers.”
University officials hope that the programs will help alleviate the need for legal and social services among the city’s low-income population. “In the big picture, our common work aspires to improve the quality of life for Richmond’s citizens,” says Douglas A. Hicks, executive director of the Bonner Center.