Provide free civil legal assistance to low-income Whatcom County residents by linking them with attorney and community volunteers.
A compassionate and just society where legal and community volunteers are working together, in equitable partnership with affected communities, to achieve access to justice for all marginalized people with dignity and racial equity.
Racial Equity: We recognize that historical and institutionalized racism is ongoing in our society, the legal system and our local community. We also recognize historical and ongoing institutionalized discrimination targets other marginalized and minority community groups, including but not limited to immigrants, women, people with disabilities, non-heterosexual and non-binary individuals and religious minorities. We are committed to addressing this discrimination in LAW Advocates’ strategic planning, policy- and priority- setting process as well as listening to and collaborating with local community organizations with diverse constituencies so that we can provide the legal services most critically needed by those most in need of legal help.
Empowerment: “Justice for all” requires access, knowledge of the system, and direct action. We support and empower clients and communities with hope, practical information, and tools to deal with housing, social services, debt, abuse, workplace, and family issues today and in the future. Community empowerment is a recognition that decisions affecting our client communities must be made by the community members rather than by agencies and organizations providing services to the community.
Education: When support is needed to interpret legal information, we show clients how to navigate pathways to justice and relief. We champion clients and their needs with dignity, hope and perseverance. We provide community education on matters that affect low-income community members.
Advocacy: Free or accessible legal services are critical pathways to justice. Our volunteers, professional lawyers and staff empower pro se clients with knowledge and remedies to level the playing field, and when appropriate, advocate skillfully to change situations of violence, debt or unjust conditions in the home, at work, school, or community.
Service: Principles of justice and dignity are strongest when communities uphold them actively. We connect quality lawyers and other community members in Whatcom County with volunteer opportunities to uphold the promise of equal justice for all.
What We Do
In pursuit of our mission we engage in the following activities:
- Provide direct full and limited scope representation of clients
- Organize and operate legal advice clinics
- Engage in community education
- Provide clients with referrals to appropriate organizations/services
- Provide CLE classes for our volunteers and potential volunteers
- Treat all clients and potential clients with dignity and respect.
- Examine our program operation and activities through a racial equity lens and make decisions based upon that assessment.
- Provide support to community organizations and community members in a manner that empowers that organization or individual.
- Manage the Island County VLP program in a manner which reflects the same standards