OKLAHOMA CO., Okla. – A group of attorneys created a non-profit called Oklahoma County Courthouse Access Clinic to help Oklahoma families navigate the judicial system.
They just started the first of February and they’ve already helped nearly 25 families.
Sara Murphy Bondurant says in law school they were taught the motto, ‘do no harm.’
Well, she didn’t feel like that standard was good enough, so she told herself, she was going to make a difference.
“The answer has always been, you need to hire a lawyer; well if you can’t afford the lawyer, then you leave the courthouse without a resolution,” said Bondurant.
Bondurant says after months of looking into that issue, she learned cases involving probates, and adult and minor guardianships are a few that people are having the most trouble with.
“They have a stack of paperwork that they have to fill out and they don’t know what to do or even if they get it filled out they don`t know what to do with it,” said Bondurant.
So far, over 30 attorneys have volunteered at least 3 hours of their time to spend with one family and walk them through each step of the uncontested and unrepresented cases.
“By the time they leave our office,” said Bondurant. “They feel a sense of somebody is helping us. Somebody is on our side.”
Even some law students from area schools are helping Bondurant while also adding to their resume.
“It means the difference of whether or not they have custody of their grandchildren, or whether they can help their parents with some sort of elderly crisis,” said Bondurant.
They hope to eventually expand the program statewide and assist in other cases.
Lam Nguyn, one of the volunteers, encourages those who need the help, don’t be scared to reach out.
“The courthouse is a very daunting place to be,” said Nguyn. “9/10 times, people don’t want to be here and so the people that are reluctant to come out and seek help, we encourage them to email us.”
If you need legal assistance from OCCAC, you CAN send them an email at, firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s also schedules posted around the courthouse.