Each year, thousands of Christian Legal Society (CLS) members and other attorneys donate tens of thousands of legal service hours to help disadvantaged people untangle debilitating legal issues, seek Christian guidance for personal problems, and understand their rights under the law so they can lead more productive lives.
(Note: Christian Legal Society does not provide direct legal services to individuals. If you are seeking pro bono legal help, please search for a Christian Legal Aid clinic near you through our Christian Legal Aid Clinic Directory.)
Legal Aid for the Needy
Through the Christian Legal Aid clinics in our network, Christian attorneys annually assist thousands of our neediest citizens address legal issues that affect critical life problems including:
- Housing (evictions, landlord/tenant disputes)
- Employment (wage theft, discrimination)
- Consumer (scams, aggressive creditors, unfair business practices)
- Government benefits (denial of Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits)
- Family Law (domestic violence, child custody and visitation disputes)
- Immigration (asylum, naturalization)
- Elder Law (wills, scams, and elder abuse)
CLS provides support and resources to our network of legal aid programs, including training webinars, access to standardized forms, and a community of legal aid leaders to share best practices. We currently support 60 legal aid programs operating in about 135 communities across the country.
Spiritual Counseling for the Needy
Independent and locally run, CLS legal aid clinics also provide opportunities for Christian attorneys to share their faith without violating Constitutional provisions for the separation of church and state. Legal problems are often just one strand in a large web of relational, emotional, and spiritual problems. Legal aid volunteers quickly discover that clients' personal problems can interfere profoundly with their clients’ ability to lead more productive lives, so they often try address the legal issues holistically. As Christian lawyers, CLS members are able to provide spiritual counseling through prayer and referrals to churches and ministries, and support clients who seek strength through the love of God.
To prepare lawyers for a commitment to compassionate legal advocacy, CLS equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to help clients resolve issues from a Christian perspective. We provide training on a variety of issues pertaining to Christian Legal Aid, including:
- How to start a Christian Legal Aid clinic
- Volunteer recruitment and engagement
- Management and operation of legal aid clinics
- Ministering to legal aid clients
- Substantive legal topics
Training is provided through various means, including:
- Annual Christian Legal Aid Summit (in conjunction with the CLS National Conference)
- Online webinars
- In-person presentations
- Personal coaching
- Regional legal aid retreats
Preventive Law Seminars
Many Christian Legal Aid clinics provide preventive law training seminars for low-income people in their communities. These seminars teach individuals their rights and responsibilities under the law, especially for issues that are likely to arise in their lives. Topics include introduction to family law, landlord/tenant law, bankruptcy filing, immigration, Social Security benefits, traffic law, and housing discrimination.