Many people have an unfavorable opinion of attorneys and the legal profession. However, here in Whatcom County we are blessed with a wonderful community of lawyers who are committed to giving back to the community. One example of that is the non-profit organization LAW Advocates.
LAW Advocates is the volunteer lawyer program in Whatcom County that provides free civil legal aid to low income people in a variety of areas. One major role of the program is to pair clients with one of the more than 200 attorneys in Whatcom County who have volunteered to represent clients on a pro-bono basis in civil cases ranging from consumer issues to employment law.
LAW Advocates also holds a variety of free legal clinics each month. Street Law is a drop-in clinic held 2 Saturdays a month and is staffed by 3 volunteer lawyers who provide advice to anyone who comes in. The Tenant Clinic is held every Friday and provides information, advice, and limited representation to low income renters facing eviction or living in unsafe conditions. LAW Advocates also assists homeless disabled people who have serious medical and mental health issues obtain state and federal benefits available to them. The Domestic Violence Self-Help Clinic is held nearly every week and assists clients facing domestic violence with various legal needs. The Kinship Clinic is held once per month and provides advice to grandparents and third party caregivers seeking non-parental custody of the children in their care. Another program recently launched is the Access ID Clinic where trained volunteers help the homeless navigate the process of obtaining state-issued identification, which is vitally important for obtaining housing, employment, and receiving other benefits available.
Through LAW Advocates’ various programs, 1,183 low-income clients were served in 2011. And Whatcom County attorneys and other volunteers put in more than 5,000 volunteer hours assisting clients in need. This is a remarkable commitment to the community and access to justice by attorneys in Whatcom County. We should all be proud of the work done by LAW Advocates and its volunteers.
Disclaimer: This article and blog are intended to inform the reader of general legal principles applicable to the subject area. They are not intended to provide legal advice regarding specific problems or circumstances. Readers should consult with competent counsel with regard to specific situations.
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