Highlights From Our History of Service


Spring 1986:

Fifty-three lawyers sign up for the first local pro bono panel after leaders of ABA Private Bar Involvement Project speak to Whatcom County Bar Association

Summer 1986:

Whatcom County Bar partners with Opportunity Council and Evergreen Legal Services for staff time to help create a permanent pro bono program

Fall 1986:

Application by the three organizations for $15,000 grant from Legal Foundation of Washington approved

March 1987:

Pro bono program opens its doors as Whatcom County Volunteer Lawyer Program, and 12-member advisory board put in place

April 1989:

Lawyer Joe Pemberton receives one of four national ABA Pro Bono Publico awards for his work in establishing program

July 1991:

Board decides to create office and organization independent from Opportunity Council


Lawyer Dan Raas receives Washington State Bar Association Pro Bono award

October 1991:

Program opens its first separate offices with director and part-time secretary, and bar votes to raise dues to help cover expenses


Lawyer Deborra Garrett (now Superior Court judge) receives WSBA Pro Bono Award


Street Law program debuts with folding chairs and tables on sidewalk of Railroad Avenue

December 1995:

Northwest Justice Project becomes successor to Evergreen Legal Services


First Lawyers Take Orders fundraiser, with lawyers serving food and beverages

October 1997:

Project SAFER attorney hired with funding from state and local grants

January 1998:

Board changes name of program to LAW Advocates (Legal Assistance by Whatcom Advocates)


LAW Advocates faces non-renewal of federal grant; board, staff, bar and community meet the challenge to save the organization

July 2003:

Departing Director Laurie Powers receives WSBA Local Hero Award

October 2005:

State grant for Project SAFER eliminated; Legal Foundation of Washington grant and local contributions keep program running

July 2006:

SAFER moved to Northwest Justice Project; LAW Advocates continues other programs

October 2006:

Lawyers Take Orders nets $32,000 to avert fiscal crisis


LAW Advocates participates in statewide/regional planning with goal of building cohesive legal aid network

January 2007:

Street Law becomes twice-monthly year-round

June 2007:

Weekly parenting plan clinic established for pro se domestic violence survivors

November 2008:

Courthouse-based Tenant Clinic begins

December 2008:

Board Chair Kirsten Barron named WSBA Local Hero


LAW Advocates receives Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center Peace Builders Award, given to organizations recognized for their efforts in community building, public service, and creative problem solving of social justice issues


Mayor Kelli Linville proclaims Street Law Day


For the 4th time in seven years, LAW Advocates wins statewide Rainier Cup for the highest percentage of local lawyers donating to the Campaign for Equal Justice

October  2016:

The 20th Lawyers Take Orders sets record with $113,000 in sales


Year-long celebration of organization’s 30th anniversary

May 2017:

First LAW Advocates Law Day Breakfast draws 240 attendees, raises $30,000

June 2017:

Weekly Domestic Violence Parenting Plan Clinic celebrates 10 years of advocacy

December 2017:

LAW Advocates receives Ken Gass Community Building Award for work empowering children, youth and families