Door County Legal Aid Society

Connecting low income residents to free civil legal services

Our History

The Legal Aid Society of Door County, Inc. was founded by five local attorneys in May, 1989. They recognized that the legal needs of the poor were not being met by the under-funded, under-staffed Legal Services of Northeast Wisconsin and other social service agencies. They applied for a grant from the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation, a non-profit organization, to help bridge the gap between the supply (lawyers) and the demand (people who couldn’t afford representation). The attorneys were surprised when their application was favorably received, and they were more surprised to receive a substantial grant.

With the grant in hand, the lawyers had differing opinions regarding the best use of the funds. Consequently, they formed LAS and named fourteen non-attorneys to serve as the first board of directors. Working to develop the support of local attorneys, the Directors were able to recruit lawyer volunteers, and the Society opened its doors to its first applicant in 1989. Since then, LAS has provided counseling, representation and assistance to over 2,500 people. The LAS has never charged for its services. It continues to operate exclusively with donated funds and volunteer attorneys who receive no compensation. The stories of applicants of LAS cannot be told because they, like all applicants, are entitled to privacy. But we can tell you that lives have been changed. The following expression of gratitude came two years after a client had been assisted through the divorce and custody process:

"This is long overdue. I want you to know that without your help my life would have turned out very different from what it is today. . . . Please don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think about you and your staff and the help you gave me and my children in starting life over. Thank You."

Now you know who we are and what we do. If you can, please help us help others.

Sturgeon Bay Bridge