Meet the Gates Scholars: Lindy Laurence
As the daughter of a minister and a single mother raising two multi-racial children, Lindy Laurence developed a strong sense of justice, compassion and a desire to advocate for family and anti-oppression movements. With an understanding of how personal history can create barriers to accessing legal help, Laurence pursued a path in civil legal aid work.
“I have witnessed how legal help can prevent a minor issue from turning into bankruptcy, making a family homeless, or forcing the separation of a child from their parents,” said Laurence. “When clients receive legal counsel and advice, are educated about their rights and have the information and instructions necessary to effectively navigate the court system, they are empowered.”
“Truly, effective legal help can be life-changing, if not actually life-saving.”
Across her professional and personal life, Laurence has made access to justice a priority in her work. Working as a paralegal in a civil legal aid office “opened my eyes,” she explained. “Clients are desperate for someone to help them navigate a bewildering and complicated system.” At Volunteer Legal Services, Laurence worked to double the number of attorney volunteers and pro bono hours, and created the Legal Help for Incarcerated People (LHIP) clinic, which provides family law advice to incarcerated women.
She currently serves as president of the Board for Northwest Community Legal Advocates and on the Access to Justice Board, and has also served as a board member with the Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project.
Laurence is eager to learn and work with others in the Gates Public Service Program who share a similar vision.
“I have a deep conviction in the necessity of public service lawyering because I believe that legal empowerment is fundamental to creating a just society.”