Justice Center Mobile Legal Clinic offers free legal advice

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee Justice Center Mobile Legal Clinic is being used in Milwaukee County as a way to provide free legal advice to those who may not be able to afford it.

The bus, which is being called the first of its kind in Wisconsin, is a partnership between the Milwaukee Bar Association and Marquette Law School. Law students are partnered with pro bono attorneys and provide free, confidential legal advice to citizens.

"We keep thinking of different ways to bring justice to the people. This is going to be a great way to do it," said program organizer Mike Gonring.

The law office on wheels is being called the first of its kind in Wisconsin. Mary Ferwerda of Milwaukee Justice says it's an opportunity to take their services to locations where it may not be possible to have a full legal clinic.

The Mobile Legal Clinic made its first stop at Milwaukee's John C. Cudahy YMCA on Saturday, September 21st. Organizers say there is a great need for outreach.

"Poverty has moved to the north-west of this city. We have a great justice center downtown, but it's difficult for people out here to get down to the courthouse," explained Gonring. "We take an oath to say we'll never turn down work because of the person's lack of money."

Most questions from those entering the bus concern family law, small claims cases, and landlord-tenant disputes, but it's also a learning experience for law students who are working their way toward the courtroom.

"They have an opportunity to hear what it's like to provide legal advice, gather information, and answer questions," said Ferwerda.

The bus will be back at the YMCA three times before the end of the year. Organizers plan to take the mobile clinic to more locations throughout the county starting in 2014.