Passionate About Serving Others
The Milwaukee Justice Center Mobile Legal Clinic: a project of Marquette University
Law School and the Milwaukee Bar Association (“ The MLC”), takes legal services to
the streets! The first of its kind in Wisconsin, The MLC provides brief legal advice and
referral information on most civil matters multiple times per month to pro se
individuals at different community-based sites throughout Milwaukee County.
The MLC is a new program of the Milwaukee Justice Center, a collaborative endeavor between Milwaukee County, Marquette University Law School, and the Milwaukee Bar Association to provide both brief legal advice and a family law forms self-help desk. The MLC utilizes the successful Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic model, pairing attorney volunteers with law students to provide limited legal advice and referral information to low-income individuals without attorneys.
The Mobile Legal Clinic is the dream of Michael Gonring (pictured above), a Milwaukee area attorney and Quarles & Brady partner who is a strong advocate for pro bono service. His fellow Quarles & Brady partners, Frank Daily and Julianna Ebert, provided support for this project to honor Mr. Gonring and his career-long commitment to public interest legal service.
The initial concept of the MLC was developed in Spring 2013 with concrete plans forming in early Summer 2013. Once a vehicle was identified and purchased in July 2013 and partnerships were established with the Northside YMCAs in August 2013, it was only a short journey to the opening day on September 21, 2013.
The MLC was developed as an addition to the successful Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic brief legal advice model, services seeking to bridge the increasing gap in access to justice for indigent people within the city. Several factors converge in Milwaukee—the 4th poorest city in the nation, according to recent U.S. Census data—specifically creating widespread need for indigent legal assistance, including significant racial and economic segregation, limited public transportation, and reduced legal services for the indigent.
The clinics are typically scheduled for Saturday mornings/early afternoons, and certain weekdays to accommodate those whose work, go to school, or whose family schedules conflict with other available legal clinic times. For many of the clients visiting the MLC, mornings are the only free time available to them without taking time away from other responsibilities.
Additionally, the MLC travels to neighborhoods where public transportation is limited and/or where poverty is concentrated. Often, low-to-no income individuals are challenged by finances, time, and ability to leave their nearby neighborhoods. The “mobile” nature of this project allows services to be present at a location within the community that individuals know as reputable and trust as safe.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Big Idea of 2013"
2014 Wisconsin Innovation Awards
2014 State Bar of Wisconsin Legal Innovation Award
2014 "15 Most innovative Clinics" National Jurist
2016 Archdiocese of Milwaukee's "Treasures of the Church" Award
2016 United Community Center "Group Volunteer of the Year"