Legal Aid Ministries
Since 2000, thousands of CLS members have donated hundreds of thousands of legal service hours to helping the disadvantaged untangle debilitating legal issues, seek Christian guidance for personal problems, and understand their rights under the law so they can lead more productive lives. Legal aid services include:
Legal Aid for the Needy
Through legal aid clinics, CLS members annually assist more than 8,000 of our neediest citizens by removing legal obstacles and helping them navigate everyday issues, such as housing problems, racial discrimination, and denial of Social Security benefits.
Although Legal aid clinics are founded and run entirely by CLS members, CLS supports their efforts by streamlining administrative processes for efficient resolution of client problems. Our support includes clinic how-to’s, access to standardized forms, record-keeping guidance, and volunteer recruitment to help staff the clinics. We currently support 65 CLS legal aid clinics in 28 states and 50 cities across the country.
Spiritual Counseling for the Needy
Independent and locally run, CLS legal aid clinics also provide opportunities for Christian attorneys to share their faith without violating Constitutional provisions for the separation of church and state. Legal aid volunteers quickly discover that, in addition to legal issues, personal problems can interfere profoundly with their clients’ ability to lead more productive lives. As Christian lawyers, CLS members are able to provide spiritual counseling through prayer and referrals, and support clients who seek strength through the glory of God.
To prepare lawyers for a commitment to social service and legal advocacy, we equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to help clients resolve issues from a Christian perspective. Half- and full-day training sessions teach participants how to apply both legal advice and spiritual counseling to social issues, such as housing, work, bankruptcy, immigration, and family issues. Training workshops typically include local lawyers speaking on their own experiences as legal aid lawyers who share the Gospel of Christ in their volunteer work.
Seminars for Low-Income Citizens
Several CLS legal aid clinics also conduct preventive law training seminars for low-income citizens in the area. These seminars teach individuals their rights and responsibilities under the law, especially for issues that are likely to arise in their lives. In the past, topics have included an introduction to family law, landlord/tenant law, bankruptcy filing, immigration, Social Security benefits, traffic law, and housing discrimination.