“For attorneys, in particular, pro bono work is important to ensure that people have access to the legal system. The Domestic Relations Clinic fills a need I have seen in our community for a long time.”
The McCracken County Family Court Domestic Relations Clinic, funded by a $10,000 grant from the Kentucky Bar Foundation, is a new program designed to help low-income individuals and families seeking advice and assistance on family court matters. In order to give area residents who cannot afford legal services access to important legal advice and assistance in navigating the legal system, the clinic relies in part on one key resource: the goodwill of notable local attorneys willing to devote their time and skills pro bono to the effort. Although Kentucky Legal Aid administers the clinic, local lawyers in private practice assist by meeting with residents at the monthly clinics and taking over when conflicts prevent Legal Aid’s attorneys from meeting with individuals.
Jeff Alford, a solo practitioner and owner of the Alford Law Office, has lived and worked in Paducah for 12 years, and is a member of a variety of charity and non-profit boards. He also volunteers with the Lawyers Care program, and he jumped at the opportunity to get involved with the domestic relations clinic when it launched this year. “I think it is important for all professionals to volunteer their time to improve their community,” Alford said. “For attorneys, in particular, pro bono work is important to ensure that people have access to the legal system. The Domestic Relations Clinic fills a need I have seen in our community for a long time.”
Fletcher Schrock, Senior Partner at McMurry & Livingston, PLLC, also donates his services pro bono to the clinic. He noted that pro bono work can offer benefits beyond helping the community. “It is my duty as a lawyer to donate legal services, but also, I receive a tremendous blessing when I’m involved in helping others,” Schrock said.
Donating services pro bono to programs like the domestic relations clinic helps to ensure that there is justice for all, Schrock says. “The concepts of equal protection of the laws and equal access to our courts are fundamental principles upon which our country was founded,” Schrock says. “As lawyers, we have a responsibility to protect the values of justice, fairness, due process and access to our courts.”