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'Neighborhood lawyering' brings help to the community

Posted: 1:03 PM, Feb 03, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-03 23:44:17-05

MILWAUKEE — Neighborhood lawyering is a concept catching on in Milwaukee. This is when a lawyer focuses on the needs of a specific community.

That's what Pedro Hernandez is doing in the 53204 zip code, the neighborhood where he grew up.

"It's crazy. Sometimes it feels really nostalgic," said Hernandez.

Hernandez grew up on Milwaukee's South Side. He worked at a corporate firm after law school and then moved into a role as a clerk at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. Now, he's back home.

"I'm helping families just like ours," said Hernandez.

He works for the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee where they offer free services to people in under served communities.

"I felt that it was kind of like my responsibility to give back in a more concrete way to the neighborhoods that supported me," said Hernandez.

Hernandez goes to community events to connect with the community and offer legal aid when he can.

"Being connected, going to community meetings, understanding what are the real specific needs that the community needs," said Hernandez.

The needs are usually housing issues and sometimes consumer problems.

"Helping people try to remove the obstacles that are not allowing them to thrive as much in the neighborhood," said Hernandez.

Kristializ Lorenzo is one of his clients. They met when the mom of four needed help with an eviction problem.

'Neighborhood lawyering' brings help to the community_Snackable

"I had some previous rent issues with a previous landlord and he was able to help me reduce the debt that I had with that landlord," said Lorenzo.

She is grateful for the attorney's guidance.

"Super grateful, extremely grateful. He was very nice he was awesome he did a great job," said Lorenzo.

Hernandez said he sees himself in his clients.

"I'm here to meet them where they're at. I'm here to come find them because I understand that it's very difficult and it's very sometimes frightening to look for help where you don't know where to look for it," said Hernandez.

Legal Aid has a neighborhood lawyering program in place in the 53206 zip code as well. These are both funded through a grant.

Here are opportunities for the community to connect with Pedro Hernandez.

  • COA Youth & Family Center, 909 E. North Avenue, Milwaukee 53212 (4th Wednesday of the Month, 4-6pm)
  • Froedtert Infectious Disease Clinic, 9200 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53226 (2nd Tuesday of the Month, 9-11:30am)
  • La Causa Community Enrichment Center, 804 W. Greenfield Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53204 (Tuesday, 2:30-4:30pm by appointment)
  • MLK Heritage Health Clinic, 2555 N. MLK Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212 (3rd of the Month, 1-3:30pm)
  • UCC / Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic, 1028 S. 9th St., Milwaukee, WI 53204 (Wednesday, 5:00-7:00pm)
  • House of Peace / MVLC Clinic, 1702 W Walnut St., Milwaukee, WI 53205 (Tuesday, 4:00-6:00pm)
  • MacCanon Brown Homeless Sanctuary, 1720 W Locust St., Milwaukee, WI 53206 (1st Friday of the Month, 3:00-5:00pm)
  • 16th St. Commmunity Health Center, 1032 S Cesar E Chavez Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53204 (2nd and 4th Tuesday of the Month 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, by appointment)

For more information click here.

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