Watch Now: Decatur Public Library Offers Free Access to Legal Advice | Crime and courts


Legal questions answered by Chad Murray at the Decatur Public Library. READ MORE HERE.






DECATUR – Talking to a lawyer about legal issues and problems can be intimidating.

But Chad Murray, staff lawyer with Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, is ready to help those in need, free of charge.

“I basically do outreach, to meet with potential clients, to talk about their legal concerns,” he said.

Murray, 37, visited the Decatur Public Library once a week for about a month, offering legal advice and assistance. He is a community advocate, with the responsibility of reaching out to others. “To reach out to them and find people where they are,” he said of his responsibilities.






Chad Murray, a legal expert from Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, met people with questions at the Decatur Public Library.


CLAY JACKSON HERALD & REVIEW


Some of the issues he has heard range from housing issues and evictions to family law and criminal convictions.

“I’m going to give some advice, but if there’s something I can definitely help them with, I can actually bring them in as a client for Land of Lincoln,” Murray said.

Murray is unable to provide criminal defense work.

Clients are allowed to spend as much time as necessary with the lawyer, although he tries to limit visits to 15 minutes.

As an employee of Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, a large portion of their funds are provided through grants or other types of funding. “It allows me to be this community advocate,” Murray said.

Jess Hill, Community Resources Coordinator for the Decatur Public Library, was looking for someone like Murray in hopes of providing a service to her clients.

“We had been trying to get a lawyer into the library for a few months, but we found ourselves at a stalemate,” she said. “There weren’t a lot of legal aid services in the area.

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After receiving a grant, Murray contacted the library. “The library is a place where all types of people come from all walks of life,” Hill said. “So we started a partnership. “






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Chad Murray, a legal expert from Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, met people with questions at the Decatur Public Library.


CLAY JACKSON, HERALD & REVIEW


Library clients and visitors who use their services often seek help, according to Hill. “We have people who come here who are homeless, or who need help filling out all kinds of paperwork to get their child back from custody, or who need to clear their records,” a- she declared. “They just don’t know where to go. “

Libraries are the premier place for information and resources. However, librarians are able to provide limited information. “But they’re usually the first place people will go,” Hill said. “We tend to know what’s going on in the community.

The library hosts open appointments with the lawyer from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursdays in the Staley room. As Murray settles in, they hope to add other resources such as lectures and informative presentations.

Libraries interested in providing similar services should contact a local legal aid service and form a partnership. Scholarships and universities are also able to provide support tools for legal advice. “You can also ask lawyers to come in and do pro bono work,” Hill said. “There are all kinds of different routes to try. “

Clients seeking legal advice can simply visit Murray on the days he is available. If more than one person is waiting to be seen or if they are not available, patrons can fill out a form with the library resource assistant.

Murray said he and Legal Aid Services are committed to Decatur and want to help where it’s needed.

“We are ready and available to take cases,” he said.

Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR


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