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.
The Board of Directors
The Legal Aid Society of Door County, Inc. is governed by this dedicated group of community volunteers:
Amelia Canilho, President
Spanish Teacher, Sturgeon Bay High School
Barry Sargent, Vice-President
Realtor-Associate, ERA Starr Realty
Jill Whitman, Treasurer
Human Services, Door County (Ret.)
Cheryl Chaudoir, Secretary
Senior Quality Assurance Software Systems Analyst, The Lake Companies, Inc. (Ret.)
Kenneth B. Glasheen
Coordinator, Sunshine House
Patient Financial Services Manager, DC Medical
Manager, Glas Coffeehouse
James R. E. Smith
HELP of Door County, Director (Ret.)
Assistant Bank Manager, Associated Bank
"The old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
To provide access to the legal system for low-income families and individuals.