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Neighborhood Legal Services reopens office

May 14, 2019 News Extra

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Service closed 5 years ago

After a five year absence, the nonprofit public interest law firm Neighborhood Legal Services (NLS) returns to Butler this week.

Government spending reductions resulted in NLS closing its former full-time office in the city in 2014, but the organization raised money to reopen on a part-time basis due to demand for its services. The office will be open part-time, from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesdays.

“With additional fundraising, we're planning to (fully) reopen the office,” said Christien Kirby, director of development for the Pittsburgh-based organization. “Our plan, once we grow the funding, is to open full-time with the initial step of opening a third day.”

NLS assists victims of crime and low-income residents and their families with civil matters at no cost.

A defendant in the criminal justice system who can't afford an attorney can be represented at no cost by the public defender's office, but defendants in civil cases are not entitled to court-appointed attorneys. “There is no right to counsel in civil legal matters, unfortunately.” Kirby said. “We work to ensure fairness in the civil justice system to protect people's rights and the rights of their families. We fight for justice and fairness. We operate as a legal emergency room for civil matters.”

In addition to coming to the office, people can call NLS toll free at 866-761-6572 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. or visit the website www.nlsa.us to request services.

Kirby said the Butler office is planning to host community education workshops on topics such as landlord and tenant rights, custody rights and expungement.

Get the whole story in Wednesday's print edition of the Eagle or subscribe online.

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