Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services (TCVLS) promotes access to justice through the coordinated efforts of trained volunteers and community partners. TCVLS strives to enable low-income clients to resolve their civil legal problems by providing legal advice, information, and direct representation in a manner sensitive to individuals and their legal needs.
The Thurston – Mason Pro Bono Project was founded in 1981 to organize attorneys willing to provide legal representation to low income residents of the two counties. In 1994, the Thurston County Volunteer Legal Clinic Foundation was started to have free legal advice clinics for the same population in Olympia. The two organizations merged in 2004 and became Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services (TCVLS).
The organization quickly grew in response to need for free civil legal aid in the community. In 2004, TCVLS and SafePlace collaborated to start a legal clinic for survivors of domestic violence. This clinic is still going on and in mid-March will move to the new SafePlace location. In 2005, TCVLS teamed up with a Mason County organization called Save Our County’s Kids (SOCK) to launch the Mason County Volunteer Legal Clinic. The Housing Justice Project (“HJP”) was started in 2007 to provide representation to low income residents of Thurston County who are being evicted from their homes. And in 2009, TCVLS began welcoming residents of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties to its clinics in Shelton and Olympia.
TCVLS has continued to expand the number of clinics. There are now four evening clinics that see clients at the Family Support Center in Olympia and two clinics at the SafePlace facility. In 2015, TCVLS started a monthly clinic in Aberdeen for Grays Harbor residents and is planning another Thurston County clinic to help young adults seal their juvenile records in the Spring.