Laura's House, a center that provides free shelter and services for victims of domestic abuse, has teamed up with the Orange County Bar Association to provide free legal assistance for its clients.
The Ladera Ranch-based organization will host a free monthly Legal Clinic that emulates visiting a law office. Visitors to the clinic can sign up to spend 30 minutes with a volunteer attorney for advice and guidance. Lawyers at the clinic can be seen by appointment only, and the consultation does not extend to services provided outside the clinic.
“Due to barriers of cost and accessibility, the opportunity to consult with an attorney is not a viable option for many of our clients,” said Adam Dodge, a legal advocate for Laura’s House. “We are extremely grateful to the Orange County Bar Association and its attorney members for partnering with Laura’s House in providing much needed legal counsel and assistance to our clients.”
All of the attorneys volunteer their time on a pro-bono basis and the majority has some experience dealing with the complex field of family law. While type of legal assistance needed varies, the most common issues pertain to dissolution, paternity, custody and visitation, support or restraining order protection.
“We are consistently amazed at what these self represented victims are able to accomplish on their own,” said Courtney Winzeler- Smith, volunteer attorney. “However, the benefits of meeting with an attorney to help fill in the gaps, strategize or to simply receive reassurance are critical to their legal process and confidence.”
In addition to the hosting the Legal Clinic, the Laura’s House Legal Department also conducts intake interviews and helps with safety planning; registration for the State of California’s Safe at Home program; the preparation and filing of domestic violence restraining orders; court transportation, accompaniment, and direction; and referrals to community resources, emergency shelters and pro bono attorneys.
Dimetria Jackson ~ O.C. Bar Assoc. president
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