Mobile Legal Clinic Accelerates – Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog
On September 17, 2013, the following announcement was made in a press release from Marquette University:
Marquette Law School and the Milwaukee Bar Association are partnering to launch the Milwaukee Justice Center Mobile Legal Clinic, a specially equipped bus designed as a vehicle to provide free, brief legal advice to individuals who find themselves outside the areas currently served by pro bono legal efforts in metropolitan Milwaukee.
The mobile legal clinic is believed to be the only such service in Wisconsin and one of the few in the country providing pro bono legal services in underserved areas.
The 2013 release detailed the origins of the project, with the succinct statement reading: “The mobile legal clinic was made possible by a donation from Frank Daily, Law ’68, and Julianna Ebert, Law ’81, to honor the work pro bono from Mike Gonring, Law ’82, their longtime friend and partner at Quarles & Brady, he described the Milwaukee Justice Center more generally – a collaborative project of Marquette Law School, the Milwaukee Bar Association and the Milwaukee County Clerk.
Since its deployment, the Mobile Legal Clinic has made a significant contribution to access to justice in the Milwaukee area. Just to give you an idea: Over the past nine years (and one month), at the Mobile Legal Clinic, more than 240 volunteer attorneys and Marquette law students have served 2,945 community members at 43 host sites. These sites are key service providers in the community – places people go to for help with a range of needs.
Sites include public libraries, food pantries and health clinics, places where community members can seek services related, directly or indirectly, to a legal issue. For example, a person who needs help feeding their family may face eviction. Or someone visiting a free health clinic might wish to appoint a power of attorney or write a will. More specific locations have included several branches of the Milwaukee Public Library (e.g. Forest Home, Martin Luther King, Mitchell Street), Milwaukee Rescue Mission, Riverwest Food Pantry, St. Benedict the Moor Parish, Church St. John’s Lutheran in West Milwaukee, and Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, to (really) name a few.
Certainly, some aspects of the project have changed. Some of the people involved in leading the project are different: for example, Mary Ferwerda, Law ’11, the original supervisor of the Mobile Legal Clinic, is now executive director of the Milwaukee Justice Center, and Marisa Zane, Law ’11, is the supervisor of the mobile legal clinic.
And now, for the development occasioning this post, the original bus has been replaced with a brand new one. (See the photo accompanying this post.)
The new mobile legal clinic is different. It is no longer specially fitted out with offices inside. Instead, it is a passenger vehicle to transport volunteers. This change is the result of years of experience hosting legal clinics inside a vehicle during periods of rain, snow, heat and freezing temperatures. Most of the time, legal clinics operated more efficiently when standing inside a building the mobile legal clinic had arrived in.
Yet a few people associated with the project – and one important “thing” – have remained the same. The former include, in particular, the three people mentioned above in the excerpt from the 2013 press release: Frank Daily, Julie Ebert and Mike Gonring, in different but overlapping ways, continue to support the Mobile Legal Clinic. We are very grateful for their support, example and service.
And the thing hasn’t changed? Without doubt that it can be stated in many ways, I would describe it as the spirit and ideals lead this project. I would have tell the spirit and the ideals of Marquette University School of Law– the school’s mission of excellence, faith, leadership and service – and there would be considerable truth to this. This is certainly what particularly motivates us “to” or “from” law school – those who have the privilege of working here or who are Marquette lawyers (or both).
Yet for all the leadership Marquette Law School has been able to provide, this is a project, both in its origins and in its operations, that has also drawn heavily on the talents and values of other members. of the legal profession, with no direct link to the Faculty of Law. Again, this is an example of how much better able we are to serve others when we have the kinds of partnerships that have characterized the Mobile Legal Clinic. If you are a lawyer or law student and would like to come aboard the Clinique Juridique Mobile, Let us know.