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Want to learn more about our AmeriCorps and our partner sites? Read what JFM members have to say about their service!
The Justice for Montanans Project is an AmeriCorps program designed to assist low–income Montanans to navigate the court system with free civil legal aid, self–help law centers, interactive online forms, and other resources. Because of increased access to information and resources, justice has been served for 47,400 Montanans who most likely wouldn’t have been able to navigate the complex legal system because of cost or confusion.
Sabrina Currie, 2016-2017 JFM AmeriCorps Member
My daily duties include returning calls that come in to the center, making sure that forms are printed and filed correctly, updating forms as needed, entering surveys into the system, managing the email account, and meeting with walk-in customers to answer questions or look over paperwork before it's filed. I decided to join JFM because I am in-between years of law school and wanted to stay connected to the legal field. I couldn't think of a better use of my time than to serve low income Montanans in their struggle for access to justice. I also saw JFM as a great opportunity to network with local attorneys and judges and to learn more about the court system.
Dimitrios Tsolakidis, 2016-2017 JFM AmeriCorps Member
I've only served a month so far but things are going great at my service site. I feel completely immersed in MLSA. I have been doing a lot of intakes, working with my supervisor on the pro bono program, and am beginning to take over the File Your Own Bankruptcy program from a coworker who was filling in for the JFM member throughout the month of August. I am enjoying learning about the law, specifically consumer protection and bankruptcy. My JFM experience has been very rewarding so far.
Elinor Fisher, 2015-2016 JFM AmeriCorps Member
The greatest strenth of the JFM program is its ideological soundness and supportive environment. I think that's what fosters the genuine commitment of its members and helps them step up to the challenge. I'm quite satisfied with my AmeriCorps experience. I don't want to say it is exactly what I expected because I came in as a blank slate, but it's what I needed. I learned enough about myself – my values and my professional preferences – to figure out where I want to go next career wise. To the person thinking of applying or the new member about to start the program – Don't get overwhelmed with all the jargon and acronyms; don't be afraid to ask for help because everyone knows you need it, take nothing personally, get outside during lunch, expect to be uncomfortable and try to seek that out once in a while; it's how you grow.
Jeffry Kirkland, 2014-2015 JFM AmeriCorps Member
I’ve only been with Montana Legal Services Association for a month, but I can say that the Justice for Montanans Project is the most worthwhile thing I’ve ever done. I’ve helped exploited people keep their assets, helped people in the midst of divorces keep their children, showed a battered spouse how to get an Order of Protection, and kept a little girl’s dog in her family. When someone tells me, “Have a nice day,” I say with all honesty, “I do.”
Gareth Ford, 2014-2015 JFM AmeriCorps Member
Hi I’m Gareth and I’m a Justice for Montanans AmeriCorps member serving at the Self Help Law Center in Bozeman, MT. Without an attorney, the legal system can be a challenging and stressful process to navigate. In a criminal case, citizens are afforded the right to a public defender. In a civil case, there is no such luxury. At the Self Help Law Center we try to assist those involved in civil cases who do not have a lawyer. While we can’t give legal advice as an attorney would, we can provide free access to forms, information, and resources that might help you better understand your legal situation. We can also answer questions about how the courts work. This access to information is essential for thousands of Montanan’s as they set up parenting plans, undergo dissolution, or respond to civil complaints.