ROCKFORD — Prison defendants throughout the U.S. have a constitutional proper to no cost, legal representation in court docket, but that’s not the scenario with civil issues this kind of as divorce, child support or disputes among landlords and tenants.

As daily life-altering as all those proceedings and their outcomes could be on the get-togethers associated and their people, tens of millions of men and women throughout the state typically go with out legal advice in civil situations, a little something the Rev. Ken Copeland, pastor of New Zion Missionary Baptist Church, hopes to change in Rockford with the introduction of Administer Justice.

Administer Justice, a Christian-based nationwide nonprofit headquartered in Elgin, offers totally free legal expert services to those people who can not find the money for to use lawyers.

“This is an chance for the church to offer hope and real help to people today who have been priced out of our legal program,” reported Copeland, who is also a lawyer.

The Rev. K. Edward Copeland

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Copeland labored with users of his church and Administer Justice President and CEO Bruce Strom previously this year to launch the New Zion Lawful Clinic, which is run out of Copeland’s church on the city’s west side.

Area people can satisfy with lawyers for no cost from 9 a.m. to noon on the next Saturday of every single month at New Zion, 4747 W. Riverside Blvd., or pretty much. Appointments are needed and can be manufactured on the internet.

The 21-calendar year-aged corporation is working with churches around the country to deploy free lawful sources into communities of need.

“We in fact have a good justice method, but not if you can not obtain it,” Strom said. “Not if you can’t gain the details you will need for primary services and for fundamental rights.”

Justice champions

Justine Alfaro, Justice Center program director, and Bruce Strom, president and CEO of Administer Justice, helped launch the New Zion Legal Clinic in May 2021 in Rockford

New Zion member Bryanna Herron, proprietor of Rose Paralegal & Typing Products and services, has been a paralegal for 18 yrs, together with 10 many years doing work for Black and Jones Lawyers at Regulation, a individual damage and staff compensation legislation firm in Rockford.

She not too long ago moved out of condition, but thanks to virtual know-how, she is however equipped to serve the clinic as its “justice champion,” a liaison in between the church and the Administer Justice business.