14 October 2013

Paprocki establishes legal group to assist the poor

His Excellency the Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield in Illinois, announced yesterday at the annual meeting of the Catholic Lawyers Guild the formation of Caritas Legal Services to provide legal assistance to the poor through the aid of a $1.5 million donation.

The pro-bono group "will not provide assistance in criminal cases. It will provide help in a broad range of civil matters including legal guardianship and custody, child support, disability benefits, domestic violence, foreclosure and eviction, landlord/tenant disputes, debt relief, adoption, immigration and others."

When he made the announcement, he noted that "it is fundamentally unfair and unjust to deprive the poor of the legal protection for their lives that wealthy persons enjoy."

The State Journal-Register provides a few details as to the operations of Caritas Legal Services:
The program will be administered through Catholic Charities and provide assistance through eight Catholic Charities regional offices in Springfield, Carlinville, Alton, Decatur, Granite City, Quincy, Mattoon and Effingham.
A panel of volunteer lawyers with expertise in various areas of civil law is being recruited to provide the free assistance. A program coordinator will be hired to visit the regional offices and 28 counties of the diocese to provide intake on client cases. The coordinator will interview and assess clients and then match them with an appropriate volunteer attorney for representation [more].
At the same time, Bishop Paprocki announced the creation of the Lex Cordis Endowment Campaign to assist the work of Caritas Legal Services.  "We need people to stand with us in this noble cause," he said, "of giving a voice to the voiceless and empowering the powerless."

The formation of Caritas Legal Services continues the work Bishop Paprocki began when he was a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and established what is now the Chicago Legal Clinic in 1981 and now has eight locations.

1 comment:

  1. I'm generally not a fan of Bishop Paprocki's for many reasons, but this is a commendable act and a wonderful use of his J.D. and his understanding of the legal needs of the poor. Glad to hear of this project.