Family law practice is one of the highest demand areas of law, and lawyers who volunteer their time through the Spokane County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Program address hundreds of cases each year. The new Gonzaga University School of Law FLASH program will give these pro bono lawyers a helping hand while providing law students a chance to get hands-on training and experience in a frequently overlooked area of law.
Family Law Attorney and Student Help (FLASH) is a pilot program launched this year by Gonzaga Law’s Center for Law In Public Service. The FLASH program is designed to benefit the community by increasing the availability of free or low-cost family law assistance.
“These pro bono clinics offer an invaluable service to the community by providing numerous individuals with assistance that they are unable to find elsewhere,” explained Matt Fischer, an attorney who will lead student-training sessions for the program.
The program also benefits students with opportunities to receive specialized training while working directly with family law cases that are expected to have an immediate impact in the community.
“FLASH law student volunteers are enthusiastic to partner with the pro bono attorneys,” said Catherine Brown, director of Gonzaga Law’s CLIPS program. “These students’ commitment to increasing access to justice so early in their legal careers positions them well as they complete law school and transition into the practice of law.”
Twelve students have already committed to the FLASH program, and students will begin their work with Spokane attorneys on family law cases in the next few weeks.
“Family law is rewarding, fulfilling work and quite challenging. My experiences with the FLASH program have been the most rewarding and worthwhile endeavors that I have embarked on during my law school career,” says Amber Rush, a second-year GU law student who has helped with the creation of FLASH. “Pro bono family law work is an essential and undersupported area of the law, and this program is devoted to serving that unfulfilled need.”
Individuals in need of legal assistance from the Volunteer Lawyers Program should apply through the Northwest Justice Project’s centralized intake and referral service (CLEAR) available at http://nwjustice.org/get-legal-help.