Pro Bono News

Providing Free Legal Aid (ID)

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Providing Free Legal Aid

"For University of Idaho Associate Professor of Law Jessica Long, assisting at the Legal Aid Clinic allows her to have the best of both worlds — by teaching students and helping those in need of free legal services.

Long helps run the Main Street Law Clinic, one of the three law clinics on campus. Long said that each of the clinics are free to students, employees and the general public as long as they meet income guidelines.

There’s a lot of individuals that need help and can’t afford attorneys,” Long said. “It’s expensive to hire an attorney. ”

According to Long, law students at the Main Street Law clinic work on a variety of cases including family law, criminal defense cases, tenant disputes, collection matters, drafting of a will, divorce or custody issues and protection orders.

Long said the clinics work on a variety of issues ranging from immigration matters to acting as mediators on civil disputes, but the Law Clinic on Main Street is a more general clinic.

A third-year law student who works at the Main Street Law Clinic, Savannah Ward, said the clinic is not only a valuable resource to her in gaining real-life experience, but rewarding as well.

“There’s no real physical reward — just the knowledge that I’ve actually helped people and continue to help people and learning how to build client relationships — (which) will no doubt benefit me in the future,” Ward said.

According to Todd Bowman who works at the legal aid clinic, these income guidelines vary on the size of households and are on a graduated scale.

Bowman said for most college students, who are determined as one person households, to qualify under these guidelines they need to make $14,363 or less. This number is calculated by determining 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

Long said potential clients can just walk into the legal aid clinic, located on the ground level of the College of Law building, and get help from the students they have working there.

Long said she encourages any individual who is struggling with a legal issue to seek help from the clinic and even if the clinic is  unable to take their case, they can still offer free legal advice..."

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