Free Legal Advice Goes Mobile

Concerned lawyers bring their services to those that need it the most

After a test run last month, the maiden voyage of Milwaukee’s Mobile Legal Clinic took place last Saturday. The little bus’s destination was The Woodlands housing complex on the city’s northwest side where low-income residents in need of legal advice can now get it free from lawyers working pro bono aboard the bus.

With two offices, desks, chairs, computers, printers and wireless Internet the bus is a fully equipped mobile law firm. Quarles & Brady legal partner, Michael Gonring, is the mastermind behind the traveling service, which was made possible with gifts from his fellow law partners, Julianna Ebert and Frank Daily. The service is designed to bring legal help to the far reaches of the community where it is needed the most. For most of these people, the lengthy trip downtown to the Milwaukee Justice Center is difficult and sometimes impossible.

A collaborative effort between Milwaukee County, Marquette University and the Milwaukee Bar Association, The Justice Center opened in 2012 and has served 10,659 clients free of charge since that time. “The problem of the unrepresented poor is huge,” says Gonring. “Poor people need all sorts of legal help from full representation to brief legal advice.” The legal issues run from probate and family law to small and large claims. However the lawyers do not take on any cases, they just offer free advice and make referrals.

Connie Hardwick, who needed advice on some unemployment issues, was very impressed with the little bus. “I did have some legal questions,” said Hardwick. “They guide you in the right direction and help you figure out where you need to go. I never experienced anything like this before.” Through the fall, the Mobile Legal Clinic will be visiting The Woodlands once a month and by next spring Gonring hopes to add more stops. “Any one of these clinics that opens is eventually overrun,” he said. “I think eventually we’ll have to go to more than one spot.”

About CainAndCochran.org.uk

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