SPOKANE, Wash. – Thirty-five years ago, the Gonzaga University School of Law reached out to serve the community through creation of the University Legal Assistance program. Referred to as “the Clinic,” this nonprofit program was created to help low-income or marginalized members of the community find access to justice. At the same time, the Clinic has provided Gonzaga Law School students with practical, hands-on training.
Former Gonzaga Law faculty Jeff Hartje and Mark Wilson established the clinic in the basement of the Law School Administration building (formerly housed in Chardin Hall). From those humble beginnings, the clinic – which exists as a private, nonprofit corporation – has become the equivalent of a medium-sized law firm and has helped thousands of people. Associate Professor Larry Weiser currently directs the Clinic.
To mark the 35th anniversary, the Clinic will host a celebration at 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 30 in the Barbieri Courtroom. While the Clinic will commemorate its anniversary, the focus won’t rest entirely on the program.
The guest speaker will be Ryan Haygood, a young attorney for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund, which has partnered with the Clinic on important cases. In addition the celebration will honor the 35 years of alumni who have gone on to successful legal careers.
Following the lecture, dinner will be served at 7 p.m. in the Herak Club Room of the McCarthey Athletic Center. The cost for the event is $35, which includes dinner and drinks.