They didn't know what to expect. When a group of Treasure Valley attorneys, law students from the University of Idaho and Concordia University, and justice advocates set up shop at the Boise Main Public Library last February, they had moderate hopes for Boise's first-ever Street Law Clinic, sponsored by the Idaho Trial Lawyers Association (BW, News, "Inaugural Street Law Clinic Deemed a Success," Feb. 13, 2013.)
The endeavor has been a triumph, so much so that ITLA is about to add a second monthly clinic with particular emphasis on family matters.
"About three-quarters of the clients who have been coming into our clinic have come in for family law issues," said Quinn Perry of ITLA. "They're coming in for consultation on divorce, guardianship and mostly child custody modifications."
To date, the Street Law Clinic, held from 4-6 p.m. on the second Monday of each month, has served more than 140 clients, many of them single parents.
"And family law is a very complex law to practice," said Perry. "So, naturally, we decided that it was best to get all of our family law people together on the same day each month. And we're fortunate to have quite a few family law attorneys with the ITLA."
Beginning, Monday, Oct. 28, and continuing on the fourth Monday of each month, the ITLA will add a Family Law Clinic, also from 4-6 p.m. Both clinics will continue to be held at the downtown Boise library.
And the clinics provide rare experience for Boise's lawyers-in-the-making.
"Law students from the U of I and Concordia do the intakes; they sit down with the clients, guiding them through what the case issues may be," said Perry. "Each student teams up with an attorney to create a plan. It's awesome for the students."
She added the clinics have been "the last resort" for most clients, many of whom are referred to the free consultation from service-based nonprofits such as the Women's and Children's Alliance and FACES Family Justice Center.
And it turns out that BW bears some of the responsibility for the upswing in street law attendance.
"I wanted you to know that we've been asking everyone where they've been hearing about the clinic and, honestly, most of them said the Boise Weekly," said Perry.