PARKERSBURG -- Legal Aid of West Virginia offers free clinics that are open to the public two Fridays a month, from 1:30-3:30 p.m., for those seeking help with family law matters. 

Catherine B. Adams, a supervising attorney at the Legal Aid of West Virginia, told The West Virginia Record, “Any person may attend the clinics. They are not limited to people who financially qualify for legal aid. The purpose of the clinics is to provide people with information that will help them navigate the family court process more effectively, answer questions they may have about properly completing the state supreme court’s pro se forms, and educate attendees about what to expect.”

Adams noted that a separate appointment is made for those wishing to hire a Legal Aid attorney to represent them. “The lawyers who teach the clinics do not give legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed," she said. "Legal Aid of West Virginia clients who attend a clinic are given legal advice at a separate appointment.” 

The clinics were established 16 years ago. Each clinic usually has from 1 to 20 attendees. 

"We established the clinics because Legal Aid of West Virginia can’t possibly help all the people who need help and qualify for our services, and as a service to the community," Adams said. "For example, the seven-county Parkersburg region encompasses over 30,000 financially eligible people. We have only three general practice lawyers to serve them. 

"Clinics enable us to serve more people by guiding them through the forms and helping set realistic expectations for the family court process. In the future, LAWV is hoping to expand informational family law clinics statewide.” 

The clinics regarding custody and parenting modification are available Nov. 3 and Dec. 8. Anyone who wishes to attend must register in advance by calling 304-485-7522 or 800-675-7970. Clinics regarding divorce are offered Oct. 27, Nov. 17 and Dec. 15.

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