ABOUT US

 

GOOD SAMARITAN ADVOCATES is a faith-based legal aid organization providing no cost legal services to low-income individuals in greater Washington, DC.  To date, our pro bono attorneys have provided over $1 million of free legal services to the poor. Good Samaritan Advocates can also provide other assistance such as small-business coaching and job search advice.  To the extent desired by clients, our volunteers also provide spiritual counseling and prayer.

GOOD SAMARITAN ADVOCATES serves our low income neighbors in suburban Washington, DC who face legal problems and economic straits by providing free legal and practical guidance.

Recognizing that spiritual and emotional issues are often at the heart of legal problems, we counsel both the legal and spiritual needs of our neighbors.  By showing compassion and support, our volunteers are able to meaningfully connect with clients and help them navigate through difficult legal, relational, and economic challenges in their lives.

Our major commitment to the community is through our Saturday legal clinics, which are held on the first Saturday of each month at Columbia Baptist’s Crossroads Campus in Falls Church, Virginia, the second Saturday of the month at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and the third Saturday of each month at Reston Bible Church in Dulles, Virginia.

What Good Samaritan Advocates can do to help you or someone you know:

We offer free, basic legal advice, such as to:

○       help you understand your legal rights

○       explain legal concepts related to your problem

○       explain documentation or paperwork you’ve received

○       provide advice on negotiating a dispute

○       recommend action steps you can take to resolve your situation

○       help you prepare for a hearing where you represent yourself

○       point you to other legal resources

Volunteer with us!

We welcome both attorneys and non-attorneys who desire to serve our neighbors in their times of need.  Our legal clinic volunteers are practicing Christians, representing various church traditions, who use their legal skills as a ministry to serve others. 

If you would like to volunteer please contact Ann-Lewise Shaw at annlewise.shaw@gsadvocates.org.

 

 

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16

Our Story

The Washington D.C. suburban area has one of the highest median incomes in the nation, yet this fact is overshadowed by the reality that thousands of families in our own backyard teeter on the brink of poverty.  Seven years ago, several Christian lawyers in northern Virginia heeded Christ’s call to serve “the least of these brothers and sisters” (Matthew 25:40) and founded Christian Legal Aid of Northern Virginia followed a few years later by its sister program Christian Legal Aid of Covenant Life Church in Montgomery County, Maryland. Today, we go by Good Samaritan Advocates, a name we believe embodies the work we seek to accomplish – serving the legal and spiritual needs of our neighbors in distress.

OUR CLINICS AND THE LEGAL AID ENVIRONMENT

Our pro bono clinic attorneys provide free legal counsel on most legal issues to those who could not otherwise afford it. During a typical one hour meeting with a pro bono clinic attorney and other team members, the client’s legal issues are clarified, key background information and documents are identified, and immediate assistance is provided as appropriate and resolved where possible.  Our pro bono clinic attorneys and volunteers also pray with clients and provide support and a compassionate ear.

Depending on the client’s problem, the pro bono attorneys may be able to help in just one meeting or may locate a local attorney who can assist the client further if the case requires particular legal expertise.  For example, where matters cannot be resolved in just one meeting, the pro bono attorney may provide legal referrals to attorneys who specialize in a specific area of the law or to a legal aid organizations or social service agency in the area.  Occasionally the pro bono clinic attorney may take on the matter personally. In many cases, attorneys provide limited scope representation, pro se coaching, and document review.  In all cases, the pro bono attorneys work to sort out clients’ issues and create a plan of action free of charge.