This past summer, I worked at the Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles. After a year of theory-driven law school work, I was eager to get practical experience with real clients. Also, I grew up in LA, but the last time I spent a whole summer there was in 2005. I wanted to spend time with my family and explore the city as an adult.
My experience at CLA-LA showed me the stark need for legal services in LA. We saw clients with all sorts of legal issues, from housing to employment to family to immigration. As a small organization, we were limited in what we could do to provide assistance. Yet even the small things that we could offer, like explaining legal processes or searching for information online, were of great help to our clients.
I especially appreciated the spiritual nature of our work. We would always offer to pray for our clients. Acceptance of prayer was never a precondition to receiving services, of course, but many people were drawn to the organization specifically for this reason. Several of our clients talked about how God had brought them through their difficulties and how they had found strength in dark times. It was refreshing to have this spiritual and personal element in my relationship with my clients, instead of seeing them as abstract legal problems.
In the Book of Micah, it is written “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Justice. Mercy. Humility. I am still far from fully grasping these traits, but my experience this summer showed me a small glimpse of these. My thanks to Jessie Johnston Fahy and Sarah McKendricks for a great summer.