2020 Christian Legal Aid Summit

Christian Legal Aid Summit

October 15, 2020

For information about the 2020 CLS National Conference click here. 

Click here to view Alissa Baier's Powerpoint presentation.

"Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." Psalms 82: 3-4

CLS' Christian Legal Aid (CLA) program engages and equips lawyers in providing justice for the poor with the love of Christ. The Christian Legal Aid Summit provides Christian legal aid staff and volunteers from around the country the opportunity to learn, support, and be a blessing to each other as we grow in our ability to serve those in need.

Everyone is welcome, including CLA leaders, staff attorneys, volunteer attorneys, board members, non-attorneys who work with legal aid clinics, and anyone interested in exploring Christian Legal Aid.  


12:00 – 12:10pm           Welcome & Introduction
                                        Ken Liu, Director, CLS Christian Legal Aid

12:10 – 12:30pm           Keynote: Following God’s Call to Serve
                                        in the Midst of Upheaval

                                         Claude Allen

12:30 – 1:30pm             Where Family Law, Domestic Violence, and
                                        Immigration Intersect: An Interactive
                                        Case Study Discussion
(CLE credit pending)
                                         Alissa Baier

1:30 – 1:40pm               Break

1:40 – 2:50pm               Legal Aid in the Time of COVID-19: Panel &
                                       Breakout Discussion

                                        Alissa Baier, Sheila Fell, and Lori Young

2:50 - 3:00pm                Closing & Presentation of John Robb Award

Following God’s Call to Serve in the Midst of Upheaval

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Presenter: Claude Allen

Claude Allen serves as a board member for Good Samaritan Advocates, as well as the clinic director at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Clarksburg, Maryland, where he provides legal and spiritual counsel to inmates and former inmates. He previously served as the senior vice president of Gerard Health Foundation, Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. 

Where Family Law, Domestic Violence, and Immigration Intersect:
An Interactive Case Study Discussion

More and more often, legal aid clients are coming to our clinics with overlapping issues of immigration, domestic violence, and family law. Even attorneys who do not specialize in immigration must be competent in issue-spotting a family law fact pattern to find potential problems and solutions for non-citizen clients who call the United States their home. This workshop will briefly discuss the type of family law cases that demand extra attention, regardless of one’s state of jurisdiction, as well as possible forms of immigration relief that could arise from such cases. The majority of the workshop will be spent in an interactive case study discussion involving real client stories, allowing attendees to practice issue-spotting, evaluating ethics questions, and sharing how their individual clinics would assess and assist each client.

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Presenter: Alissa Baier

Alissa N. Baier is a senior staff attorney at Open Door Legal Services (ODLS), a Christian legal aid clinic within Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. ODLS assists homeless and low-income clients from shelters and programs across the greater Puget Sound area with overcoming the legal issues holding them back from finding housing, employment, restored relationships, and overall stability. Alissa specializes in immigration law and has built a practice within the Mission assisting domestic violence victims, undocumented immigrants, asylees/refugees, permanent residents, DACA recipients, and others with a variety of affirmative applications. Alissa is a former CLS chapter president and served on the planning committee for past CLS Northwest Regional Retreats. She graduated from the Seattle University School of Law in 2011, where she served as an executive editor of the Seattle Journal for Social Justice and a CLS student chapter leader. Alissa enjoys running, soccer, reading, podcasts, journalism, karaoke, salsa dancing, and planning her next international adventure. Her future plans involve transitioning out of legal practice this year and relocating to Reading, England, to seek work in the nonprofit sector and help plant a non-denominational church with a team of friends.

Legal Aid in the Time of COVID-19: Panel and Breakout Discussion

Hear Christian Legal Aid attorneys share their clinics’ experiences in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics will include the following:

  • What has worked well and not worked well for your clinic during the pandemic?
  • How have you handled remote client services?
  • How do you envision the future of your clinic in the face of uncertainty?
  • Has this season created new opportunities for serving the poor and/or transforming your clinic?

This session will also give attendees time to share their own experiences and to pray for each other.

Presenters: Alissa Baier, Sheila Feel, and Lori Young

Presenter: Sheila Fell

Sheila Fell is the founder and the program director of Scranton Road Legal Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Sheila has been licensed to practice law in Ohio since 2010, holding a J.D. and a Certificate of Nonprofit Management from Case Western Reserve University. Since founding the Scranton Road Legal Clinic under the umbrella of Scranton Road Ministries C.D.C. in 2012, the clinic has served over 2,000 local families with brief legal advice, pro se assistance, referrals to pro bono and low-cost attorneys, and community-based legal education. Sheila lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband and 3-year-old son and is a member of John Knox Presbyterian Church.


Presenter: Lori Young

Lori Young is the executive director of Trinity Legal, a Christian Legal Aid clinic in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Lori oversees the approximately 50 volunteers and staff who lovingly serve the legal and spiritual needs of the clients of Trinity Legal. Lori graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1994, and from University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1997. Lori is also an adjunct professor at OSU-OKC, teaching leadership, American government, and intro to nonprofits. She serves on the board of directors for the BritVil Food Pantry, which provides food for needy individuals in the OKC area. Lori and her husband, Preston, are members of North Side Christian Church where Preston is an elder, and they enjoy leading the AWANA’s program together. They are incredibly proud of their three children: Clayton, also a graduate of OSU and an engineer in Tulsa and married to Isabella, an associate operations pastor of Life Church; Maddy, a pre-med student at OSU who enjoys volunteering in the Crossings Community Clinic; and Nathan, a competitive gymnast and a high-school junior studying computer programming at Francis Tuttle.