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Lt. Governor Simon Launches Virtual Legal Clinic in Moline

Posted by Admin On September - 6 - 2014

Domestic violence program expands to Quad Cities

MOLINE, IL — Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon visited a Moline family services agency to launch her latest Virtual Legal Clinic, a program that helps domestic violence survivors access free legal counsel.

“Domestic abuse knows no economic, social, or geographic boundaries. Yet, in many areas of Illinois, domestic violence survivors have limited access to family law experts who can help them,” Simon said. “That’s where the Virtual Legal Clinic comes in, providing free, confidential consultations to survivors in areas where specialized counsel is in short supply.”

Simon joined advocates at Family Resources to demonstrate how domestic violence survivors can receive free legal consultation from lawyers online using a webcam. The program fills a gap in legal services in underserved areas, Simon said.

Simon spoke via Skype with volunteer attorneys Mark Nabong of Chicago and Lucinda Bugden of Rockford about why they volunteer their time and expertise to help domestic violence survivors through the clinic. They have helped clients navigate topics including child custody and visitation, marriage and divorce, elder abuse, immigration, and property issues.

“The VLC is important because survivors are at a significant disadvantage if they can’t hire a lawyer,” Bugden said. “They need to understand their rights and the law. That way, when they go before a judge, they are more likely to prevail.”

The Virtual Legal Clinic is piloted by Simon’s office and the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. As of September 2014, it serves 34 counties, with growth projected into 70 counties by 2015, thanks to a $100,000 grant from Verizon Wireless. Clinics in Danville and Charleston came online this summer.

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