Morehead State University partners with Legal Aid of the Bluegrass to provide the region with the Pro Se Divorce Clinic. Through the clinic, supervised students assist indigent clients with filling out the necessary paperwork to represent themselves and obtain a divorce. Without the help of the clinic, most clients would not be able to afford the cost to receive a divorce. Previous to COVID-19, the clinic was held once a month during the school year, serving an annual average of 70+ clients total (that number would be double if counting spouses). The supervised student coordinator manages all of the clinic's logistics from client referral to final decree. Since the clinic is in-person, COVID-19 had halted them for the 2020-2021 year. In coordination with Legal Aid of the Bluegrass staff and the faculty mentor, the student coordinator worked to identify challenges and propose protocols for in person and virtual clinics during a pandemic. The student coordinator has reviewed cases for the past five years to identify any challenges to clinic efficiency (including analyzing common causes for delays). Through identifying those challenges, the student coordinator developed procedures for increasing clinic efficiency, including enhanced client communication. Challenges and considerations include the health and safety of clients and volunteers, the need for notarized signatures, the requirement that the Petitioner submit a deposition under oath, technological limitations for indigent clients, improving clinic efficiency and reducing delays, and more. The student coordinator created a proposed plan outlining options for both a virtual clinic and a clinic utilizing the new "Zoom Room" located at Legal Aid of the Bluegrass with a pilot Zoom Room clinic scheduled for April. These plans provide options for running the clinic in a safe manner while supporting the needs of the communities it serves. Finally, the student coordinator has created a survey to gauge clinic productivity and client satisfaction.
Hellard, Kallie, "Pro Se Divorce Clinic: Tailored To The Times" (2021). 2021 Celebration of Student Scholarship - Oral Presentations. 45.