Legal Assistance Center celebrates decade of helping people help themselves


by Cynthia Price
Legal News

The Kent County Legal Assistance Center (LAC), one of only five such entities in Michigan which offer free help to people who wish to represent themselves in certain types of legal cases, celebrated ten years in existence with a reception Wednesday night at the University Club.

The LAC recognized founders of the organization, pictured at right. In addition to Deborah Hughes (third from right), the Executive Director hired at the end of last year, the photo shows, left to right, Dale Iverson, who was president of the Grand Rapids Bar Association (GRBA) in 2002; Skip Pylman of Gruel Mills Nims and Pylman; GRBA Executive Director Kim Coleman, who was newly hired in 2002; John Muth of Miller Johnson; and Bill Farr of William S. Farr, Attorney
at Law.

The LAC  helps approximately 14,500 walk-in and 2,000 phone patrons per year, 66% of whom have annual household incomes of less than $20,000, with knowing what forms to fill out and how courts proceed. A majority of them need help with family law matters. The LAC may also offer referrals to needed social services.

In addition, the work offers an opportunity for legal and paralegal students to volunteer and expand their knowledge.

The reception sponsors were Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and Davenport University, with support from Grand Valley State University.