A Look Inside a RILA Clinic

It’s 6:30pm at Restoration Anglican Church in Arlington, and clients are trickling in for RILA’s largest monthly clinic. Each month, clients trek from the far reaches of Northern Virginia to seek legal assistance; they ask friends for rides, brave unfamiliar public transit systems, or pay huge sums of money for taxis to take them - because it’s worth it.

Upon arrival, clients enter the church’s fellowship hall, where the friendly faces of volunteers and a warm, home-cooked meal greet them, and they sit at large tables to relax and eat before the clinic begins.

After a quick introduction at 7pm in both Spanish and English, clients are invited to speak with lawyers and other volunteers who will guide them through the legal process. During these meetings, clients are welcome to include support, whether a sister, a husband, a friend, etc. There are also child-safety certified volunteers ready and willing to take care of any youngsters who have tagged along for the evening, which allows clients who are parents to focus on their legal process.

As clients wrap up their talks around 8:30pm and start their journeys home, our legal team meets to discuss any immediate questions or concerns, plan timelines, and volunteers work to clean up the meal and interview rooms.

Heather Hall