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Dr. King’s Antipoverty Movement


S.L. Owens

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is best known for advocating racial justice. However, Dr. King also worked tirelessly for economic justice. For example, he launched the Poor People’s Campaign to eradicate poverty across the United States.

Like the lawyers during Dr. King’s time, lawyers today play a key role in advancing civil justice. Many lawyers donate their legal services to tackle poverty and access to justice. And the lawyers at Quarles & Brady are no exception. Our lawyers expend countless pro bono hours assisting disadvantaged communities. We advocate on behalf of low-income individuals and their families. We help low-income individuals start businesses. We protect victims of domestic violence. In sum, our firm has a track record of dedicating our time to economic justice.

Below highlights the ways lawyers at Quarles & Brady are advocating on behalf of impoverished people.

  • Volunteer Legal Clinic at the United Community Center is a free, walk-in legal information and referral clinic staffed by volunteer attorneys supervising Marquette University law students. The clinic’s goal is to provide low-income, unrepresented litigants with basic legal information and appropriate referrals on civil legal matters. Attorneys in our Chicago office work at a similar clinic in Chinatown.
  • Domestic Violence Clinic provides free representation for petitioners seeking domestic violence injunction orders. Through partnership with Marquette Law School and the committed advocates at Sojourner Family Peace Center, Quarles & Brady has helped several hundred petitioners. In a city in which 27 percent of the residents live at or below the poverty line and upwards of 90 percent of litigants in Milwaukee County family court are unrepresented, pro bono legal assistance is a critical resource that can make a difference. A similar program is thriving in our Madison office.
  • Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic is a free legal information clinic staffed by volunteer attorneys supervising University of Wisconsin law students. This clinic assists low-income entrepreneurs. The new business owners are provided transactional legal services to form their business and protect their intellectual property.
  • National Immigrant Justice Center is a freelegal clinic dedicated to ensuring human rights and access to justice for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Quarles & Brady attorneys recently obtained permanent residency and protection for a woman from Mexico under the Violence Against Women Act. Immigrants do not have access to appointed counsel and the commitment of Quarles & Brady attorneys to ensure access to justice makes a difference.

The examples above are just a drop in the bucket. Our attorneys demonstrate this nation’s rich history of pro bono service. We work to improve equity and access to justice. I am sure that I missed many other great examples. So my question is: how do you leverage your legal services to impact economic justice?