The UNT Dallas College of Law has announced the creation of two new community lawyering centers to provide legal services to underserved communities in Dallas County.
Law students from the school—which opened its doors in fall 2014—will staff the centers alongside supervising attorneys.
The downtown and South Dallas centers are a partnership between the college, Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, the Dallas County Public Defender’s Office, and Legal Action Works. The Dallas County Dispute Resolution Center will provide experienced mediators to supervise law students.
Away from the law school campus, the centers aim to bring legal aid into underserved neighborhoods to improve access for those who need the services most and offer daytime, evening, and Saturday appointments.
”We understand that our clients may not be able to take off from work,” UNT Dallas College of Law Professor Cheryl Wattley said in a news release. “They should not have to choose between earning money for their families and having access to legal representation.”
Wattley, who also serves as the law school’s director of experiential education, developed the concept for the centers and worked with the partnering organizations to start the programs within 15 months. The centers are expected to open in May.
The collaboration between working lawyers and educators from several institutions and areas of law will allow the centers to deliver a variety of programming to the community, Wattley said.
The centers are located:
- Serving downtown area
511 Akard, Dallas 75201
- Serving Frazier/Fair Park
4716 Elsie Faye Heggins St., Dallas 75210
Pictured above from left: Representatives from three of the four legal providers partnering for the new community lawyering centers at the announcement reception on April 27. Maria Thomas-Jones, Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas; Cheryl Wattley, professor and director of experiential education, UNT Dallas College of Law; Lynn Pride Richardson, chief public defender, Dallas County Public Defender’s Office; and Anglea Downes, professor and assistant director of experiential education, UNT Dallas College of Law.