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KY Supreme Court Justice Michelle Keller celebrates opening of first Legal Help Center in Lexington

Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Michelle Keller of NKY celebrated the fruition of five years of work heading the Kentucky Access to Justice Commission at the official opening of the Legal Help Center in Fayette County on Tuesday.

Justice Michelle Keller

Keller emceed the event which was held at the Robert F. Stephens Circuit Courthouse. The center provides access to free legal information for those who want to handle certain legal matters on their own. It is located in the Law Libary of the courthouse, on the lower level.

The Legal Help Center offers information on a variety of legal topics, including divorce, expungement, child support and simple probate matters.

The Kentucky Access to Justice Commission launched the Legal Help Center in partnership with the Fayette County Office of Circuit Court Clerk, Fayette County Family Court judges, the Fayette County Law Library trustees, the Administrative Office of the Courts and Legal Aid of the Bluegrass. The Fayette County Bar Foundation provided funding to purchase computers and a printer for the center.

Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. and Supreme Court Jutice Laurance B. VanMeter were also on hand for the event.

“This Legal Help Center will assist those who must try to navigate the justice system without counsel,” said Justice Keller, who chairs the KAJC. “As important, we also celebrate the idea of partnership, which made this center a reality. Access to justice cannot be accomplished by one person or one organization or one Legal Help Center, but when we come together our collective efforts can move the arc of society toward justice for all.”

How Legal Help Center Works

The Legal Help Center is staffed with KAJC staff and volunteers from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. ET each Thursday. While volunteers do not provide legal advice, they do offer legal information, which includes helping patrons locate and fill in the correct legal forms on a variety of topics.

Many of the forms that patrons need can be completed through guided interviews. The guided interviews are user-friendly, with the patron simply answering a series of questions. Once the interview is complete, the program generates the required court documents. Guided interviews are available on these matters:
• Dissolution of marriage (no minor children)
• Motion to modify child support
• Petition for order of protection
• Small claims court complaint
• Petition for probate
• Petition for expungement (for misdemeanor, violation or traffic infraction conviction)
• Motion for waiver of court costs and fees

“We’re excited about the success of this pilot project,” KAJC Executive Director Glenda Harrison said. “Since it opened in March, the Fayette County Legal Help Center has helped over 100 patrons gain access to the courts. With an increase in self-represented litigants – people handling their own legal matters – KAJC will be looking at how we can expand this service in some form to different areas of the state.”

Want to Volunteer?

The Legal Help Center is seeking attorneys and law students to volunteer during the center’s hours of operation. Volunteers will be given an orientation on how the center operates and the scope of services provided. For more information, contact Glenda Harrison at glenda.harrison@kyaccesstojusticecommission.org.

Another Legal Resource: kyjustice.org
KAJC and Kentucky’s four civil legal aid programs launched another self-help legal resource in March when the revised website, kyjustice.org, went live. The site provides information on various civil legal topics, including family law matters, criminal expungement, housing and consumer issues. It also offers answers to common legal questions, a tool that screens for legal aid eligibility, and an interactive county-by-county resource map.

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One Comment

  1. Lorrie Hill says:

    Education and economic issues often mean justice is not always available for all Kentuckians. Thank you Justice Keller for your efforts to help change that.

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