May 04, 2017
The Clarksburg Office of Legal Aid of West Virginia partners with the WVU College of Law to provide one-on-one assistance to low-income clients to complete divorce packets.
Through this partnership, qualifying clients, who would not otherwise receive services due to limited resources, receive one-on-one assistance in completing all paperwork necessary to file for divorce. The program is coordinated by Diane Young, Private Attorney Involvement Specialist, who has worked for Legal Aid for 40 years. First, Diane Young arranges a class for the law students to learn how to complete the divorce paperwork. This year the class was taught by Legal Aid Staff, Kate White and Christine Schneider. Diane then recruits volunteer attorneys to mentor the law students. Diane assigns clients to the law students and they work together with these volunteer attorneys, to assist their clients in completing their paperwork. When the process is complete, the clients are fully prepared to file for divorce and represent themselves.
Completing the divorce packet is an often overwhelming task for these clients. Due to limited resources, the local staff attorneys are simply unable to help the increasing numbers of individuals who qualify for our services who need help filing for divorce. The partnership benefits the law students as well, as learning to complete divorce packets is not something found in your typical law school curriculum. The partnership provides hands-on learning for the students, and services to clients who may not otherwise receive the help they need.