06/06/13—Empowering and Defending the Poor


Imagine you are going through life minding your own business when all of a sudden you find yourself in need of legal aid. What would you do? I would love to say that we could all just pick up the phone and call our local attorney at law, receive some inexpensive legal advice and poof our troubles would be gone like fresh cotton candy at the fair. Unfortunately, help is not always a phone call away and legal situations do not melt away like fluffy pink sugar… and the cost…we won’t even go there. However, there is a beacon of hope on the legal horizon. The Free Legal Clinic….where and when you ask…every third Thursday of the month at St Vincent de Paul, Watkins location, 420 W. Watkins Rd. Phoenix, AZ. The brainchild of Ann Marie Alameddin, the clinic has been helping those in need for the past few years. 

I had the privilege of sitting with Ron Meyer who has been involved with the clinic since day one and brings with him years of legal expertise. We discussed the ins and outs of the clinic as he went back and forth checking people in and assigning them to lawyers. The Free Legal Clinic has been a place for those in need of legal advice to come and have their issues heard and sorted. Lawyers from different firms volunteer their time and knowledge to help community members with legal issues. While the volunteer lawyers do not represent those seen at the clinic, they act as liaisons between community members and the first legal step. They help determine what the issue is, and if there is a legal course of action to be taken. They are equipped to discuss immigration, divorce, debt collection, and more. Community members in need of legal representation or who have an issue that requires further investigation are referred to Maricopa County Lawyers Referral Service or Community Legal Lawyers Referral. 

I spoke with second year law student Jay Shiels. His venture began as a school requirement, and continues as a much-welcomed commitment. He says it is the most rewarding part of law school and is impressed at the generosity of the lawyers. He is happy to be a part of a group that helps families move forward and gain piece of mind when dealing with legal matters. Lincoln Combs is a volunteer lawyer from the law firm Gallaher & Kennedy. He has been helping families and individuals solve and sort their issues at the free clinic and states that he is happy to help families solve their issues. 

SVdP’s Free Legal Clinic 
Every third Thursday of the month, 4:30 – 6 p.m. 
SVdP’s downtown campus at 420 W. Watkins Rd. Phoenix, 85003 
Contact Janie Perdue at 602-850-6722 for more information