Volunteer Law Clerk Dedicated Over 650 hours in Pro Bono Service at SLLS

Yazan Rantisi, a third year law student at Southern University Law Center, completed over 650 pro bono hours at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS). He joined the team in early April hoping to gain more hands on experience in the legal field, while serving the most vulnerable populations in Baton Rouge.

“Reuniting families and protecting survivors of domestic violence from their attackers have been the most rewarding part about the experience,” said Rantisi. “Every time we help create a positive outcome for the client, I’m constantly reminded about all of the great work that SLLS provides for the communities in its service area.”  

Rantisi volunteers in the Family Law Unit in the Baton Rouge office. His primary duties include assisting with client intake, drafting pleadings, and preparing for court hearings. Additionally, Rantisi frequently joins the staff at community outreach events like “Ask-a-Lawyer,” an event that gives advice on a wide range of legal issues to low-income families and vulnerable populations throughout our service area.

“All of my experiences at SLLS have been extremely valuable for my future,” said Rantisi. “I highly encourage other law students to volunteer there. The experiences that I’ve gained from it have significantly prepared me for my career as an attorney.”

With graduation around the corner, Rantisi feels eager to start the next chapter of his life. We can’t thank him enough for all of his tremendous efforts.

The Case of Mrs. Brown

Mrs. Brown was 39 when her husband jumped on her back and threatened to kill himself in front of the kids. It was Christmas Day and four little pairs of eyes watched in terror as their father pointed a gun to his head. Sadly enough, that wasn’t the first time Mr. Brown, held a gun in front of the kids.

In 2001, the couple got married in a rural part of Louisiana. The Browns had four children together with two of them having special needs. To accommodate their new lifestyle, Mrs. Brown decided to quit her job so that she could home school the two kids with disabilities. Then the abuse started. Between the economic instability, violence and her concern for her children’s well-being, Mrs. Brown didn’t know what to do.

Since 2016, Mrs. Brown was harassed, pushed to the ground and yanked by the arms. She wore bruises on her body like they were tattoos. It seemed as though the violence would never stop. Then her husband sued for custody of her children. That’s when she finally turned to a local domestic violence shelter that provides services to survivors and was later referred to Southeast Louisiana Legal Services for help.  

In the spring of 2018, an SLLS attorney jumped right in to help and defended her rights in courts. With our help, Mrs. Brown was approved to be the domiciliary parent, get $1,700 per month in child support, and have access to both the family home and the family van. Now Mrs. Brown has the security she needs to move forward and protect her family from future harm.

Recently, we’ve learned that she’s looking for a night job and is helping her oldest child think about what to do after he graduates high school. Providing survivors like Mrs. Brown with the resources they need to escape abuse and overcome their trauma is truly a rewarding experience for many of our attorneys. To anyone who’s still struggling to break the cycle of violence, know that an SLLS attorney is only a phone call away. We want to fight for you and anyone else who’s suffering in an abusive relationship.

Public Service Intern Honored for Pro Bono Work

While working on an undergraduate degree at Tulane University, Byria Hamblin devoted over 60 hours of free civil legal aid for SLLS clients so far. She is a prelaw student who aspires to combine her passion of helping people overcome financial hardships with her interest in law.

“As my first professional experience in the legal field,” said Hamblin. “SLLS has continued to reinforce in my mind that this is the right profession for me.”

Hamblin works in the Pro Bono unit in the New Orleans office. Her primary duties include conducting research, developing resources for clients and volunteers, and drafting and designing materials for training and promotional purposes.

“There really is a niche for people who want to pursue law but also want to give back to their communities,” said Hamblin. “SLLS continues to show me that the legal field and humanitarianism can coexist and promote equitable justice for all.”

With these new legal experiences under her belt, Hamblin has the desire to explore a career in legal advocacy and join us in the fight for fairness. We appreciate all of her hard work.




This September during National Preparedness Month, we want to encourage families, the legal community, and community stakeholders in southeast Louisiana to be sure you are ready for the next disaster. SLLS helps vulnerable people be more resilient, year-round, by tackling legal barriers to economic opportunity, stabilizing homes and families, and handling successions to remove barriers to disaster recovery. Before disaster strikes, SLLS works in partnership with other justice community partners, bar associations, and pro bono volunteers to ensure that the “suits on the ground” are as ready to respond as the “boots on the ground.” Click on the button below to view the full newsletter.

September Newsletter

Thanks to everyone who attended and supported our 5th Annual “Bar Exam” fundraiser on July 18, 2018. Your help is essential to our mission of increasing access to justice and strengthening our community. The event was another great success, attended by over 125 attorneys, judges, law students, public officials, and social justice leaders. Special thanks to Walter Leger, Jr. for serving as our Quiz Master. And congratulations to all the night’s winners. Click on the button below to view the full newsletter.

August Newsletter

In June, we join advocates around the country in honor of National Homeownership Month. For generations of Americans, owning a home has been synonymous with achieving the American Dream. Homeownership is the foundation of economic opportunity. This asset leads to higher generational stability for families. Many people use their home equity as capital to start small businesses, help their children attend college, and ensure that future generations of their family will have a safe place to call home. Click on the button below to view the full newsletter.

June Newsletter

Every May, we join advocates around the country in honoring seniors during Older Americans Month. Currently, in Louisiana, 19% of seniors live in poverty. With few resources, they struggle to afford basic needs like shelter, food, and healthcare. Many are vulnerable to financial exploitation and elder abuse. SLLS is dedicated to using civil legal aid to improve the lives, health, and homes of our elderly clients. This newsletter highlights some of our work with older Americans. Click on the button below to view the full newsletter.

May Newsletter

Though April is Fair Housing Month, everyday SLLS fights for the rights of tenants and homeowners when they face discrimination in housing. We recognize the strides our country has made, but there is much more hard work to do to ensure that all people have an equal right to housing regardless of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, religion, or ability. In commemoration of Fair Housing Month, we are featuring a recent housing success story. Click on the button below to view the full newsletter.

April Newsletter

On March 14, 2018, SULC joined SLLS in commemorating our 50th anniversary of providing civil legal aid for low-income people. We marked the milestone with a free Professionalism CLE featuring a panel of distinguished speakers discussing how civil legal aid, pro bono attorneys, and law students help close the justice gap for vulnerable people. We highlighted our Flood Proof project, a partnership between SULC, SLLS, and a number of other organizations, launched after the Great Flood of 2016 to help families recover from the disaster. Click the button below to view the full newsletter.

March Newsletter

Starting off the new year, we’re talking all things TECH! Through our online platforms, SLLS is available to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, increasing access to justice for all. In 2017, over 134,000 people visited LouisianaLawHelp.org, our statewide free legal information site where people can learn about their legal rights and connect with self-help resources and legal information. Click on the button below to view the full newsletter.

January Newsletter

On February 19, 2018, Tulane University Law School joined us to commemorate 50 years of SLLS providing civil legal aid for low-income people. We also celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Tulane Law School’s Pro Bono program. The event included a panel of distinguished speakers discussing how civil legal aid, pro bono attorneys, and law students help close the justice gap for vulnerable people. Click on the button below to view the full newsletter.

February newsletter