Judicare Legal Aid held its annual Wills Caravan in March. The Wills Caravan is the annual trip Judicare’s Indian Law Office (ILO) attorneys take to Wisconsin’s federally recognized tribes to offer information and services regarding wills, powers of attorney, and health care directives. This year they were able to host two separate caravans. Judicare attorney Jordan Winquist, along with volunteer Howard Bichler, accompanied six students from Columbia Law School to visit Ho-Chunk, St. Croix, Lac du Flambeau, Menominee, and Stockbridge-Munsee tribal members. At the same time, Judicare attorney Douglas Twait accompanied five Marquette Law School students for two-and-a-half days in Milwaukee and 1-and-a-half days at Sokaogon in Crandon.
Overall, the two caravans were able to visit seven sites in five days, and the many native elder clients we were able to reach expressed deep gratitude for their wills.
The students brought a fresh curiosity on law, client work, and protocol in Native Country and Wisconsin – a reminder not to take the ILO’s valuable work for granted or become too cynical. It’s hard to cover all that territory and history in a week, but they had a good time trying.
The law students let Judicare know that they were able to gain from the actual work experience that the caravan provided as well: “Working with clients one-on-one and having so much responsibility allowed us to learn how to quickly adapt to new situations and problem solve on the spot. We also learned how to work together, playing to each other’s strengths and understanding how we could best support each other. Even through the busiest and most demanding times, we were able to laugh and get along because we knew we were all there to help each other and the clients and that [Judicare Legal Aid] would be there to help us through any issues we faced.”
Thanks so much to the Marquette and Columbia Law students who made the 2023 Wills Caravan a success.