A new nonprofit in Central Texas opened its doors to provide legal services for low income people.
The Greater Waco Legal Services (GWLS) was started by attorney Kent McKeever, and was originally connected to Mission Waco. The lawyer worked with Mission Waco to provide legal advice for low income people back in 2012, but now McKeever has opened a non-profit of his own.
"For our system to work in the way it's meant to work -- everyone needs [legal] access regardless of their income levels," McKeever said. "Everyone should, I think, receive the same legal services whether they can pay or not."
The attorney said they provide services at much lower rates that traditional private lawyers but a person must meet certain requirements to get their help. This law firm is focused on helping client's whose household income falls below 250% of the federal poverty guidelines.
"We do charge a fee for most of our services, [but] it is based on a household, or an individual's income...we also have some flat fees for a lot of our services," McKeever said. "We charge about 20% of what a private attorney might charge...we're really flexible because we want to make it affordable for our community."
Taylor McKinney said he knows how important it is to be able to afford an attorney, after he needed on for a legal problem he was facing with his landlord.
"We had a crisis, a major tenant problem...when I first contacted an attorney, he let me know that it would cost around $5000 or more," McKinney said.
That's when McKinney said he reached out to McKeever for representation.
"Without attorney Kent McKeever's services, legal services, we could not afford a regular attorney," McKinney said. "It would've cost us up to $6-7000, where it took a fraction of that cost to get the help through the Greater Waco Legal Services."
GWLS plans to initially help clients with immigration, legal barriers to employment, landlord-tenant issues, and estate planning matters. McKeever said they also plan to host free legal advice clinic on the first Monday of every month, starting in March.
McKeever said the non-profit is looking for volunteers, attorney, other community organizations, and donors to help get GWLS off the ground.
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