by David Ward, President of the QLaw Foundation
The QLaw Association and the QLaw Foundation are sister organizations that work closely together to serve Washington’s LGBT community.
The QLaw Association is a membership organization for LGBT and allied legal professionals. The Association evaluates judicial candidates, matches LGBT law students and new lawyers with mentors, and organizes networking and social events
The Association devoted extensive resources to last year’s campaign for R-74. Following the approval of R-74, the QLaw Foundation helped organize community forums and other events to educate the public and attorneys about the new law – and we conducted more educational work following the Supreme Court’s decision in June striking down part of DOMA.
The QLaw Foundation is a charitable organization that works to bridge the gap between legal professionals and the LGBT community. The Foundation runs the GLBT Legal Clinic, awards summer grants for law students to work on projects benefitting the LGBT community and/or people living with HIV/AIDS, and conducts educational programs for community members and attorneys. The Legal Clinic provides clients with free 30-minute consultations with volunteer attorneys. Our attorneys are specially trained to discuss legal issues commonly faced by members of the LGBT community.
The Clinic is held on the 3rd Thursday of each month from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Consultations are by appointment only. You can make an appointment by calling (206) 235-7235. If you reach our voicemail, please leave a short message with contact information and we will get back to you. We welcome all clients regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and there are no income restrictions for visiting the Clinic. The Legal Clinic can help with any civil legal issue (i.e., not criminal). We serve residents of King County and people who have legal issues in King County.
The Clinic has served over 400 clients since it was founded in 2009. We’ve advised clients on a wide range of issues – establishing parental rights, dissolving relationships, fighting discrimination and harassment, completing gender and name changes, drafting wills and other legal documents, filing for bankruptcy, applying for public benefits, dealing with immigration issues, and more.
The QLaw Foundation’s Legal Clinic has been in the forefront of addressing the legal needs of the LGBT community, particularly for those who are often marginalized within our community. We were honored to receive the Washington State Bar Association’s 2013 Pro Bono Award for the Legal Clinic’s work. We are proud that nearly 40 percent of clinic clients are transgender. We were thrilled to receive an award from the Ingersoll Gender Center in 2011 for our work on behalf of the transgender community. We also help connect clients with other legal services. For example, the clinic saw a client who was denied pregnancy medical benefits by the state of Washington because the state failed to recognize her partner as a family member. We referred the client to Legal Voice and to Denise Diskin of Teller & Associates, who helped the client win a settlement with the state.