12 Dec 2022
Professor Kristen Blankley, Director of Public Interest Programs Kala Mueller and Jordan Mason, ’23, were recently selected for the Inaugural Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Pro Bono Honor Roll. The AALS Pro Bono Honor Roll acknowledges and highlights the exceptional work of individuals engaging in, expanding and/or supporting their law school community in providing pro bono legal services.
For the purposes of this award, pro bono is defined as work that is primarily legal in nature, supervised by a licensed attorney (for law students), not for pay or academic credit and of service to underserved individuals, groups, or those with barriers to access to justice. Each recipient was nominated for their unique contributions to their community.
Professor Blankley focuses her pro bono work on online mediation services that reach underserved populations in rural Nebraska. She can mediate more than fifty cases per year, reaching more than one hundred parties. Many of her cases involve helping parents resolve difficult issues, including parenting across great distances, involvement of other family members in the lives of the children and tax issues complicated by the Advanced Child Tax Credit Payment program. She is one of 49 faculty members on the Honor Roll.
Kala Mueller has led several efforts to develop public interest and pro bono-related opportunities. She leads the administration of the Nebraska Public Interest Law Fund, which provides a limited number of stipends to Nebraska Law students who secure unpaid summer positions that serve the public interest. She led the development of Nebraska Law’s Pro Bono Research Fellows Program, a free service for attorneys in need of research assistance on pro bono legal matters. As a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Collaborative, she works with others to develop ways to increase access to justice in Nebraska and supports the Volunteer Lawyers Project. Kala is a member of the Midwest Innocence Project board of directors and president of their Nebraska Regional Advisory Council. She is one of 41 staff members on the Honor Roll.
Jordan Mason, a third-year student, worked for the Immigration Legal Services Team at Lutheran Family Services as a Nebraska Public Interest Law Fund Fellow in 2021. The legal team helps the immigrant, refugee and asylee communities with a wide variety of immigration needs, from filing petitions to applying for asylum. In her role, she compiled evidentiary support for immigration forms, drafted immigration petitions and communicated with clients. She continued this work in a pro bono capacity after her time as a fellow. Additionally, she did pro bono work for the Wills for Heroes Program and the Advance Directive Clinic Project last summer. “I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to learn about estate planning and draft actual estate documents for people in need,” Mason said. She is one of 51 students on the Honor Roll.
Learn more about Nebraska College of Law’s Pro Bono Initiative here.