Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Edwardsville attorneys reach out to low-income residents with free legal services

By John Myers | May 12, 2017

EDWARDSVILLE — The Edwardsville legal community wants to remind the locals that they are working to provide legal support to lower-income individuals in need of aid. 

The Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee recently issued a statement to the Edwardsville community to remind its residents that the organization continues to make a number of free legal services available to lower-income members of the community. 

These services include a Legal Advice Clinic that offers community members the chance to work with volunteer attorneys who are willing to provide free legal appointments to discuss topics such as real estate issues and services for veterans. 

According to the statement, the organization also offers a program in which lawyers provide services for the family court division, including offering their assistance by volunteering to serve as mediators. These mediators work to help both parties settle their cases ad litem. This included a lineup of 11 local attorneys who are working as mediators specifically in the area of parenting disputes and seven attorneys who have served as guardians at litem for the family division court. 

And it's not just local attorneys who are offering their time and effort on these projects. The Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee has also provided help from several paralegals who have volunteered to take on the paperwork duties required when courts deal with domestic violence orders of protection. 

In just the first three months of 2017, the organization scheduled over 47 free legal consultations and has included support from attorneys Will Asa, Rob Bas, Jared Giuffre, Thomas Hildebrand, Christine Kovach, Elizabeth Levy, Amy Meyer, Scott Meyer, Zachary Pashea, Barbara Sherer, Scott Snider, Gale Stipes, Andrew Velloff and Audra Zobrist. 

“Many attorneys volunteer their time in these programs as a public service and are finding more ways they can be helpful,” Judge Barb Crowder, chair of the Pro Bono Committee, said in the announcement. “Their enthusiasm and commitment towards meeting the needs of people with low incomes make us proud to know them and to publicize their efforts.”  

The Pro Bono Committee said that the public should contact the self-help center in the Madison County Law Library to seek assistance through the program. 

Low-income individuals who cannot afford their own attorneys may make a 30-minute appointment on any civil matter including landlord-tenant disputes, collections cases, small claims disputes, guardianship, divorce and child support on the second or fourth Tuesday of each month. And low-income individuals who have real estate-related issues should contact Amy Meyer, recorder of deeds for the Committee, in the Madison County Law Library on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Services are also available for veterans. 

Interested individuals should contact Lauren Jansen at 618-296-4472 or email her with their needs at Veterans are asked to identify themselves specifically.

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Madison County Circuit Court