Taking It To the Streets 

Street Law Clinic to open monthly operation at Boise Public Library's Main Branch in February

In an effort to introduce a bit more justice to the Treasure Valley, the Idaho Trial Lawyers Association is getting ready to set up shop--beginning in February, 2013--inside the Boise Public Library Main Branch with a monthly Street Law Clinic.

"We're pretty excited," Barbara Jorden, ITLA's executive director, told Citydesk. "We're doing this in conjunction with Concordia and the University of Idaho law schools, and our members will be the supervising attorneys."

The idea is simple: Walk-in clients will be able to access on-the-spot legal advice. If the client needs further representation, he or she may be referred to an ITLA lawyer who has indicated willingness to take a pro bono case.

"We honesly don't know how many folks will show up to help but people will be able to ask about so many things: family issues, job actions or housing," said Jorden. "I must tell you that we've been overwhelmed by how many people want to help us do this."

ITLA's proposal is to have at least two supervising attorneys and two-to-six law students to staff the clinic.

"It's was Erika's idea. She said we should do this," said Jorden.

That would be Erika Birch, attorney in the Boise office of Strindberg & Scholnick, member of the ITLA and native of Utah where she was part of a street law clinic created by the University of Utah eight years ago.

"Erika is really instrumental in helping us get this started here in Idaho," said Jorden. "And the folks at the Boise Library are pretty excited, too."

When the ITLA approached the Boise Public Library, she said, library officials were more than happy to provide a home for the service, which will offer its first clinic on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, from 4-6 p.m.

Jorden said the clinic fills a significant void in providing free legal advice to "those who desperately need it."

"Legal Aid in Idaho is great but they're also greatly underfunded," she said. "And so many Idaho attorneys want to offer pro bono services. Well, this is all about making those connections."

Training for students and attorneys hoping to participate in the Street Law Clinic is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 11, 2013.

If the first clinic is successful, and Jorden said she had a pretty good feeling that it would be, future two-hour clinics (and possibly more than one per month) will continue to be held through 2013.

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