On January 4, 2010, the ACLU of Nevada started the new year by hosting five students from Notre Dame School of Law for a day. The students were visiting Las Vegas as part of the GALILEE program (Group Alternative Live-In Legal Education). GALILEE enables students to visit different legal organizations, especially those geared towards the assistance of the urban poor and under-served populations, to learn how they can use their legal expertise to assist with the difficult legal problems in the future. It also allows the students to see and experience the issues that they would otherwise not be able to in a normal classroom setting.
The attorneys in the ACLU of Nevada’s Las Vegas office met with the students and talked to them about the organization’s work and careers in public interest law.
For the ACLU, it was an opportunity to spread the word about its work to a new generation of legal professionals. As visiting student Kareem Salem noted, “Before visiting the ACLU office in Las Vegas I knew what the ACLU stood for and what it worked towards but I didn't know how they did it. Spending a day with the attorneys and staff members of the Las Vegas ACLU really gave me a sense of how such a broad concept as protecting the rights and liberties the U.S. grants us is done on a day to day basis. Visiting the ACLU was very empowering as a law student because I was able to see first hand how the work of a few can go a long way and affect thousands of people. This, I believe, is the ultimate goal of public interest.”
After talking with the attorneys, the students got some hands-on experience spreading information about civil rights in the streets of Las Vegas—they volunteered their time and helped hand out “Know Your Rights” cards to the homeless.
It was a productive and energizing day for all. “You can get burned out with the daily grind, but it is always energizing to spend time with students who are really excited about the law and civil liberties and civil rights work,” said Maggie McLetchie, Staff Attorney. “They help remind us how fun our work really is.”