“You really need a lawyer.”
People rarely like hearing those words.
They often punctuate our lives when something unforeseen has happened, we’ve hit a crisis or we are thinking about our own demise. We are daunted by dollar signs. We don’t know where to turn, who to trust or what can be done, if anything.
Fortunately, our city has a place to turn for everyone, regardless of financial status, who might see themselves in the above description. Greater Waco Legal Services offers compassionate, affordable legal services so all in our community can have equal access to justice.
Clients pay fees for quality legal representation on a sliding scale according to income. Bilingual counsel is available as well. It’s been my joy to serve as a volunteer, translator and now as the president of the GWLS board.
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Over and over, I’ve watched as we have helped people who earnestly desire to “follow the rules” but are overwhelmed trying to navigate a complicated bureaucracy.
I remember one young friend who was brought to this country as a child. We helped her get her paperwork in order and apply for protected status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals rules. A donor gave toward a scholarship to assist with the government’s $495 fee. I remember when her DACA was approved — she got her driver’s license and a good paying job in one afternoon.
Another service we offer is a monthly free legal advice clinic, usually on the first Monday evening of each month at one of the Transformation Waco school campuses. During these clinics, anyone from our community can come in and receive a half-hour consult with an attorney. At a recent clinic, a young mom arrived juggling a baby and a thick manila envelope — and a very