Stuart discusses virtual legal aid strategies and shares how his family inspired him to work with underserved communities.
Stuart is a Staff Attorney with the virtual self-help center at TLSC. He and his team work with clients via Zoom and chat — allowing them to serve people who cannot access a physical legal aid office. Clients can meet with Stuart virtually at one of TLSC's rural family law clinics. He also works with TexasLawHelp.org visitors to help them achieve the most desirable outcomes when representing themselves in legal matters.
On his Texas roots
I am a 5th generation Central Texan on both my mother and father’s side of the family and am proud to say that my teenage sons are part of the 6th such generation in our family. I was raised in Round Rock when it was a small town (2,500 or so) and then made my way the eight miles to Southwestern University in Georgetown to study.
My Dad was the primary town banker in Round Rock. He was an unusual one and became known in the community as the “Poor Man’s Banker” because of his propensity to make loans to people of little means — folks who other bankers would not consider for a loan. He would often make small loans out of his pocket if the applicant could not qualify for bank funds. My mother was a school teacher and both parents strongly believed they should help those in need in the community.
On his work at TLSC
During our rural clinics, we assist people in family law matters like divorce, custody, and visitation. We are often able to help them get a divorce and to end up with their fair share of the community property. We are also able to assist them in gaining custody of children, or in making sure that their visitation rights are enforced by the court. TLSC hosts family law clinics in 17 rural communities.
Through chat on TexasLawHelp.org, we help with legal issues ranging from landlord/tenant matters, personal injury issues, employment matters, probate issues, and beyond. We provide eligible visitors with information and advice so that they can more easily navigate the court system.
I have learned that a major benefit many of our clients receive is a substantial reduction in stress from understanding the law better and having a plan to move forward.
For too many of them, this is the first time that someone has really listened to their problems and genuinely tried to assist them. They are often very thankful for that.
On the legal community coming together for a client
I helped a client whose husband had not let her see their daughter for well over a year. The client did not have the financial means to afford an attorney and came to us through LiveChat on TexasLawHelp.org. In order to get her daughter back, the client would have to prevail in a big hearing in Harris County against a party who was ably represented by an attorney. Through contacts, I secured a young local attorney eager for courtroom experience to represent the client pro bono. We drafted and reviewed documents, and counseled her in handling a family law hearing. It was successful and primary custody was returned to our client. The client was extremely grateful.
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