BROWNWOOD, Texas — “Better Call Saul.” Well, that would be great if he wasn’t a fictional lawyer who worked pro bono. But at Brownwood public library, there is free legal service that is available to the public.
“The main thing I think to say is, it’s free! It’s free legal help to people who need it,” said Suzanne Dowdy, Director of Children’s Services at the Brownwood library. “And that can use it for that purpose. Because legal fees we all know, cost a fortune. And they can do a lot of leg work here. A lot of free conversations with whoever their attorney is. Research their case. There’s a lot of stuff they can do here and save money.”
Getting legal help isn’t cheap. And lower-income communities often don’t have either the access for the help of an attorney or the technology to research their litigation. The Texas Access to Justice Foundation— a nonprofit—are donating virtual kiosks throughout the state. According to this nonprofit, the goal for now is to implement 250 of these legal aid kiosks in different regions of the state. Dowdy said the Brownwood library was recently awarded this kiosk and is thankful for it.
“I’ll tell you this, in this town, we’re close to 20,000 people, including Early,” she said. “And we do have people who come in with a lot of needs for legal services. And we didn’t have the resources. I mean we were like you know, you can check out a book. My best advice has always been Google it.”
On the legal aid kiosk, people can attend a court hearing virtually, get an understanding of their legal issues, file and submit court forms and get help finding a lawyer.
“But this just brings it to a one stop shop where people can say ‘OK. I need to do this.’ They can look at their court case,” she said. “They can talk to an attorney. They can do an abundance of things that just before, they don’t have the help to give them.”