Legal Aid Society of Louisville

The Legal Aid Society of Louisville is a non-profit Legal Aid organization based in Louisville, Kentucky. It serves Jefferson County (Louisville Metro) and the fourteen surrounding counties of Breckinridge, Bullitt, Grayson, Hardin, Henry, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble, and Washington. [ [ KY Justice - Legal Service] ]


The Legal Aid Society primarily represents individuals under 125% of the poverty line (although exceptions can be made up to 200% of the poverty line) [ [ Legal Services Corporation - PDF] ] . They also can represent individuals over the age of 60, even if they do not meet income qualifications.

The primary focus of Legal Aid's representation are the following areas: landlord-tenant, family law, foreclosures, consumer, government benefits, community development, bankruptcy, grandparents rights, special education advocacy, assistance for individuals with HIV/ AIDS, small claims, homeless rights and tenant counseling. In 2007 they assisted over 4500 indivduals. [See [ Legal Aid Society Louisville] ]


The first legal aid organization, the Deutscher Rechts-Schutz Verein (German Legal Aid Society), was incorporated in New York City in 1876 "to render legal aid and assistance, gratuitously, to those of German birth, who may appear worthy thereof, but who from poverty are unable to procure it." [John MacArthur Maguire. "The Lance of Justice: A Semi-Centennial History of the Legal Aid Society, 1876– 1926" (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1928).] Chicago's Ethical Culture Society formed the Bureau of Justice in 1888, which sought to provide legal services to all poor persons. This, according to a chronology of the history of legal services, was the first true legal aid organization.

In 1896, the New York society amended its charter, dropping the word "German" to become "The Legal Aid Society," and in 1899 it opened three branch offices. Following these pioneers, legal aid societies were organized in Boston (1900), Philadelphia (1902), and Cleveland (1905). [Arthur F. Bigelow, "Epitome of Legal Aid History in the United States, 1876– 1925," in "Legal Aid Work," John S. Bradway and Reginald Heber Smith, eds., special issue, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 124 (March 1926): 20–22.]

The Legal Aid Society of Louisville followed this tradition of public service as it spread across the country and on December 15, 1921 opened its doors for the first time. The original incorporators of the Legal Aid Society, included Mrs. Alfred Brandeis, sister-in-law of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, and Mr. John G. Heyburn. In 1928 the Volunteer Lawyer Program was established to help assist private attorneys in providing pro-bono legal services. In 1975, the Community Development program was established to assist in providing legal services to local non-profit organisations. In 1978 the program was expanded from Jefferson County to assist the 14 surrounding counties. In 1992 a special program was developed to assist individuals living with HIV/ AIDS in the Louisville Metro community. [ [ Legal Aid Society Louisville - Winter 2006.pdf] ]

The organization was led for 30 years (from 1975- 2005) by Dennis Bricking, who during his tenure was honored with the Louisville Bar Association’s Lawyer of the Year and the American BarAssociation’s John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award. [ [ Legal Aid Society Louisville - Spring 2005.pdf] ]

Notable Legal Aid alumni include the founders of Hawley-Cooke bookstore, numerous Kentucky judges, including Denise Clayton who was the first African American woman to be appointed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals [ [ Kentucky Courts of Justice - Judge Clayton] ] and David Friedman who successfully argued the McCreary County v. ACLU case before the United States Supreme Court. [ [ - Take two tablets] ]


The Legal Aid Society receives funding from the Legal Services Corporation [ [ Legal Service] ] , the State of Kentucky [" [ Beshear budget eliminates Legal Aid funding] " by Deborah Yetter "Courier Journal" Februaru 27, 2008] , the United Way, IOLTA funds, the City of Louisville and numerous other grants and donations. The Legal Aid Society also employees a fellow, who specializes in domestic violence advocacy who is employed with funds from the law firm of Wyatt, Tarrant and Combs. They also have a program with the law magnet program at Louisville Central High School and work with the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville.

External links

* [ Legal Aid Society of Louisville official website]
* [ Legal Services Corporation official website]
* [ National Legal Aid and Defender Association official website]


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