A Bigger and Better Legal Aid Facility is Open 4/07/14 02/07/14 9:07:06 AM
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– Photos by Michael TranThe second floor entrance to the new home of Legal Aid of Nebraska is warm and welcoming and represents a 40 percent increase in space.
A Bigger and Better Legal Aid Facility is Open
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record
Legal Aid of Nebraska has moved, although you can probably still park at the same meter without a long walk. Executive Director Dave Pantos has packed up all 50 full and part-time employees, including attorneys, interns and clerks, and relocated them up the street, from 19th and Farnam north to 19th and Douglas. Taking up the entire second floor of the imposing building, plus administrative offices on the sixth floor, Legal Aid now has 14,000 square feet, up from 10,000. “The move allows us to serve more people and to increase our services,” Pantos said.
The move was led by a huge increase in use of the Access 2 Justice (A2J) services, he said, as well as a desire to consolidate all client services on one floor. “Clients have already said they love that the new offices look like the professional setting of a law firm.” Pantos said the move was made possible in part by the generous donations of The Hawks Foundation, the H. Lee & Carol Gendler Charitable Fund, and American National Bank and its executive chairman, John Kotouc. “The building owners were also exceptionally helpful in the build-out and even with the move, he said.
Cuts in Nebraska State Bar services have also increased the need for Legal Aid services. In fact, Legal Aid is in need of additional help as well, since they used to refer some clients to the Volunteer Lawyers Project, but can’t now because of their cuts. “We are currently drafting a strategic volunteer plan,” Pantos said. “We hope to help the “next generation” of young attorneys – those under 40 – become more aware of Legal Aid services and interested in pro bono services. We will debut the initiative in April.”
Legal Aid will host an Open House Thursday, Feb. 20, from 4 to 6 p.m.