pals awards

ALTERNATIVE SPRING BREAK

Memphis Law's Alternative Spring Break program, coordinated and run by PALS, seeks to help low income individuals who need legal representation, while simultaneously providing law students the opportunity to gain experience in the legal field. The University of Memphis program is the only student-led Alternative Spring Break in the country to recruit nationally, taking applicants from any American Bar Association-accredited law school.

Supervised by practicing attorneys and leaders in the Memphis community, law students participate in a variety of specialized tracks throughout the week, with a special keynote address to conclude the weeks activities. 

Information about the 2017 Alternative Spring Break Program:

Advocating for Educational Justice:Breaking the School to Prison Pipeline

The eighth annual Alternative Spring Break, sponsored by the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and its Public Action Law Society (PALS), will focus on the the "school to prison pipeline," the causes, effects, and solutions. The event's keynote speaker is The Honorable Judge Dan H. Michael of Shelby County Juvenile Court in Memphis, Tennessee.

The "school to prison pipeline" refers to the national trend of students being funneled through public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice system. The Alternative Spring Break 2017 program will take an in-depth look at this issue through several specialized legal tracks and panel discussions throughout the course of the program.

Sixty-six law students from 4 different law schools will participate in Alternative Spring Break during the week of March 6–10, 2017. Law students from University of Georgia, University of Toledo, and Loyola Law School will join Memphis Law students in seven specialized pro bono tracks.

Supervised by practicing attorneys and leaders in the Memphis community, law students will participate in seven specialized tracks: Advance Directives, Family Law, Immigration, Criminal Defense, Juvenile Justice, a Research and Writing track, and a Veterans' Clinic.

In the spirit of service, this year Alternative Spring Break will add a non-legal related community service component. PALS has teamed up with Clean Memphis to do a survey of graffiti plagued locations in Downtown Memphis. Students will spend an afternoon spotting areas in Downtown Memphis that need attention to report to Clean Memphis so that action may be taken.

For all participants to have a better understanding of how to combat the "school to prison pipeline," a panel discussion will bring several voices to the table to discuss the key issues and possible solutions. The panel will include The Honorable Magistrate Judge Mitzi Pollard, who sits on the truancy docket for Shelby County Juvenile Court, Ms. Mahal Burr, Community Action Coordinator for BRIDGES USA, Mr. Bernard Williams, a Juvenile Services Specialist at Shelby County Juvenile Court, and Mr. Deangelo Mitchell, a recent graduate of Northwest Prep Academy.