DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
SPICEWOOD — Sometimes, you just don’t know where to turn when faced legal issues. But Spicewood residents can find a little direction at their local library thanks to the innovative Lawyer in the Library program.
“We have three attorneys who have volunteered their time to help out people who may have some problems like eviction or other issues,” said Jim Lamar, the president of the Spicewood Community Library board. “They’re just giving advice, counsel and direction. They don’t take on cases.”
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, a nonprofit organization that offers low-income people legal assistance, serves as the umbrella for the Spicewood program. But all three attorneys are local ones.
Lamar said there are many residents in the Spicewood area facing problems — financial or otherwise — who don’t know what to do. A visit with a Lawyer in the Library could give them a course of action.
“Sometimes, it may be that they do need an attorney,” Lamar said. “Other times, it could be they just need some direction.”
The program is 4-6 p.m. the last Wednesday of each month from at the Spicewood Community Library, 1101 Spur 191 (next to Spicewood Elementary School.) The next session is Aug. 27.
“We’ve already had three sessions,” Lamar said. “And more people are taking advantage of them.”
Three to four people showed up at the first session, and about eight attended the second one. But the July session drew about a dozen people.
“The word gets around,” Lamar said.
No appointment is necessary, so people can walk in. The sessions typically last 15-20 minutes. While the attorneys aren’t there to take on cases, Lamar said if one of the lawyer comes across a situation in which the person has a definite need for legal representation, he or she will refer the person to the TRLA office. Though the Spicewood sessions are open to everybody (but geared for low-income residents), Lamar said the TRLA only accepts low-income and disadvantaged residents.
The idea for the monthly legal program came about when one of the board member’s husband, Kim Brightwell, heard about the concept at a bar association meeting and suggested it. He also was the first attorney to volunteer with the program.
“Then, I got in touch with two other attorneys who both agreed to volunteer, too,” Lamar said. “We’re probably looking for one more attorney who can help out or fill in when somebody can’t make it.”
The service is on Wednesdays, a day when the library is typically closed, so it doesn’t interfere with other library programs and operations. The Spicewood library is a community-supported facility that relies on donations, memberships and fundraisers to operate. It isn’t a part of the Burnet County Library System and doesn’t receive any county, state or federal funding.
Go to spicewoodlibrary.org for more information.