The 20th Anniversary of the Christian Legal Society Clinics
Jim Helfrich and JAMLAC’s team!
20 years ago, a vision to meet the legal and spiritual needs of the poor started to become a reality in our city. Before JAMLAC was even founded, the Christian Legal Society of Metro Denver (CLSMD) clinics were the seeds to respond to Jesus’ command to help the poor in our community. Several volunteer attorneys planted this seed and helped follow this calling to begin Legal Clinics across Metro Denver to provide free legal advice to help people overcome the obstacles that were keeping them from flourishing. Today, that seed has germinated into a marvelous tree with 11 clinics sites operated by volunteers on a monthly, bi-monthly or weekly basis, serving over 700 individuals per year. We estimated more than 10,000 lives have been touched as a result of the triage clinics. Well done!
We all agree “none of this could have ever been possible without the patience, consistent availability, and servant leadership of Jim Heflich!” a volunteer attorney, Paul Dunlap shares. Jim coordinates the clinics and has done so for all 20 years. We are grateful for Jim’s heart and dedication, and for the volunteer attorneys who serve tirelessly and have grown these clinics over the years. The triage clinics have been an integral part of JAMLAC’s outreach into the community and allow attorneys to have meaningful ways to use their legal expertise to help those less fortunate.
Jim once said, “as the saying goes, ‘many hands make light work’. So, I get credit mostly for the work of others.” Jim refers to volunteer attorneys, such as Candy McCune and George Muller.
George is a former oil and gas law practitioner who is very passionate about serving the poor. He shares “it’s important to me because it’s important to God. Both the Old and New Testaments demonstrate God’s love for the poor and His desire that we serve them. It’s a blessing for me to add dignity to the lives of those who have pretty much lost it. Regardless of whether I can solve their problem, the ability to speak to a lawyer is often part of the healing process they need to carry on. Sharing the hope of Christ and praying with them is what makes these clinics so special. A teary-eyed client told me recently that she had consulted a lot of lawyers, but this was the first time anyone had prayed for her.”
Candy is an attorney with over 20 years of experience in civil practice in Colorado, including insurance defense litigation and family law. When Candy was asked why she got involved with the CLSMD clinics, she also cheerfully remembered how God was calling her name to be part of this mission, “my involvement in the downtown Salvation Army Friday Legal Clinic has been fantastic and definitely God-directed.
I remember coming home early on and saying to my husband, ‘this is why God gave me a law degree’.
I truly appreciated working as a team and the ability to call ‘resource’ lawyers when necessary — and they always jumped in with great assistance. It amazed me how simple some of the problems were, but how huge a barrier they were for the people facing them. And it was supremely satisfying to get to talk about our Lord and Savior in every instance. Plus, I never left a session without praying with them — what a blessing I felt each time. Even those who were stuck in their victimization could often express they got a glimpse of hope and help. I thank the Lord for the time and opportunity I had to be a part of this wonderful work for quite a few years – I was blessed and pray he received the glory for all that was accomplished. The glory must all go to the Lord — He did the leading.”
Undeniably, Christian legal aid goes beyond giving advice or legal services to the poor and the homeless. It requires the involvement of your heart, mind, and soul. These volunteers and the clinics all are truly an example of how planting seeds when God prompts us can bear amazing fruits.
George also shared that “I recall sitting in a Christian Legal Society of Metro Denver board meeting 20 years ago where Jim and I disclosed that God had been speaking to us about serving the poor. After securing the Board’s blessing, Jim began organizing clinics staffed by volunteer Christian attorneys. I’ve served in these clinics over the past 20 years, first in Denver and now in an Arvada clinic with other Christian attorneys who practice in Jefferson County,” George happily shared.
George and Candy are the perfect example of those who serve at the CLSMD clinics. The volunteer attorneys are mostly characterized by their love for helping and for being peacemakers and servant leaders.
Today, we want to celebrate all these volunteers who share their love for this important mission and tirelessly serve the poor in our community. You were a tremendous part of JAMLAC’s initial launch and have given years of faithful legal services for the community. Your work is truly making a difference in our city. Thank you for being an example and an inspiration these last 20 years and for teaching us how to share the love of Christ with others, through critical services and life-changing programs!