J. Reuben Clark Law Society

Timpanogos Legal Center Helps Lift Lives

Standing tall in the legal community, the Timpanogos Legal Center (TLC) represents a group of BYU law students, attorneys and other volunteers who have come together to serve members of the community in need of legal advice and assistance. Living up to their mission of "lifting lives through the law", this pro-bono organization offers consultation clinics every Tuesday evening and a special document clinic once a month. The TLC works in partnership with Utah Legal Services and the Family Justice Center, providing free walk-in clinics at the Health and Justice building in downtown Provo. 

Richard Sheffield, the chair of JRCLS, is the current President of the TLC and helped found the organization in 2010.

“I’m doing this because I care about reaching out to the neediest in my community,” Sheffield said. “Looking for an opportunity to do good has made me find more fulfillment in my own legal practice.”

In addition to the volunteer attorneys, the TLC has recruited over 100 student volunteers.
"Students should get involved because it is the right thing to do," said Camille Borg (3L), current president of BYU Law School’s Public Interest Law Foundation. "Lawyers have a responsibility to help lift lives through the law."   

The TLC is modeled after the Southern Utah Community Legal Center in St. George, an effort initiated by the Southern Utah Bar Association. With the help of organizations like And Justice for All and Utah Legal Services, volunteers have handled dozens of cases since its founding. 

Founded as a beacon organization people could look to for help, the TLC received its name from the near 12,000 foot mountain that stands as the second highest peak on the Wasatch Front.

“We wanted to convey an image of lifting your eyes up to Timpanogos,” Sheffield said. "Pro-bono service is a blessing not only to the people who receive the service but to those who give. There is an uplifting feeling experienced by those who give the service that is real, that makes you enjoy the legal practice more and helps you be even more effective in legal practice."

Since the first kickoff meeting in October 2010, the TLC has grown to hundreds of volunteers, including over 70 volunteer attorneys, many of whom are retired attorneys, stay at home mothers and recent graduates looking for work experience.
“The TLC has identified and invited participation of unique groups of inactive status attorneys,” TLC co-founder and current BYU Law Professor Jim Backman said. “We call this group our TLC Team of attorneys and we have had more than 40 step forward to be involved in ways permitted by newly established Bar Association rules for inactive attorneys to assist on pro bono matters."

Susan Griffith serves as one of the licensed attorneys at the clinic in addition to being a part-time professor at the BYU Law School. As executive director of the TLC, she also helped organize the TLC team of volunteer attorneys and students.
“I love the part about giving our stay at home mothers a chance to do important community service work.” Professor Griffith said. “This program gives these really talented women the opportunity to primarily do work at home while at the same time providing an outlet to use their professionally trained skills.”

The committee works hard to see that their efforts not only deliver legal services to those in need, but also to find ways to help clients become more self-reliant.

"We want to help clients develop character in the way they approach their problems," Sheffield said, "We are not just delivering legal services but we are lifting them and their lives through the law." 

Members of the TLC Board:
Richard Sheffield – J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Central Utah Chapter
Jim Backman – J. Reuben Clark Law School
Jill Jasperson – UVU Legal Studies Program
Liisa Hancock - CUBA President
Craig Carlisle - Chair elect of the JRCLS
Susan Griffith - Executive Director of TLC
Other former official members of the board who continue to contribute to the TLC include Debbi Myers, the program director, and Sue Crismon, who represents the pro-bono side of Utah Legal Services

Advice clinics every Tuesday evening from 5-8p.m. No appointments needed. First come first serve walk-in.

Family Justice Center
Located in Health and Justice Building
151 S. University Ave. Ste. 3100
Provo, UT 84601

The building is located just south of the old Historic Courthouse on the corner of Center St. and University Ave.

Posted: 2012-01-25