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Law Student Angela Rollins Meshes Studies with Pro Bono Work

It amazes us how law students whose studies can be all-consuming, find time to devote – often hours a week – to pro bono work.

One such student is Angela Rollins, in her third and final year at Southern Illinois University School of Law.  Angela’s story actually begins before she even started law school. For three years, she worked as an administrative secretary for Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, providing non-legal help to indigent clients whose issues ranged from domestic violence to illegal evictions. It didn’t take long for her to realize that a career in public interest law was for her.

Since starting law school, Angela’s most significant contribution has been to establish, with another law student, the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project.  Six law students are now hard at work on innocence project cases in an effort to free wrongfully-convicted individuals from incarceration.

Angela has also volunteered in several other public interest activities, including SIU’s Self-Help Legal Center where she answered phone calls and directed members of the community to self-help resources. She also volunteered at the Immigration Detention Project and the law school’s Domestic Violence Clinic.

Some students take a vacation over winter break. Not Angela, who volunteered at Land of Lincoln to provide housing legal counsel to clients who were facing illegal eviction or utility shut-offs. In the summer of 2010, she volunteered as a law clerk at the Federal Public Defender’s office in Benton, where she performed extensive legal research and writing.

Angela, who has won scholarships and awards for her success, served as Survey Editor-in-Chief of the law school’s Law Journal. She is simultaneously working on a graduate certificate in women’s studies at SIU and expects to receive her certificate in 2012, around the same time she gets her J.D.  She ranks second in her law class out of 120 students and has a near-perfect grade point average.

Illinois is a better place for having citizens like Angela Rollins, who are so eager to help others. And she’s only just begun. Who knows what contributions lie ahead?

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