Gary Center offers free legal services
By Lauren Davis
La Habra Journal
It’s time for some “law and order” in La Habra. The Gary Center can now add legal services to its wide range of free community programs offered to the public.
Diana Lopez, the owner of the Law Offices of Diana Lopez in Orange, is currently offering free legal clinics at the Gary Center on the first and third Friday of every month, from 10 a.m. until noon.
Lopez began the clinics last month, with a majority of services surrounding family law, landlord and tenant issues, small businesses, labor and employment issues, and personal injury. The legal clinics are meant to offer advice and information about how to deal with any legal issues a person may be having. The clinics are one-on-one, and approximately six people are seen during the two-hour period.
Jorge Montoya, the assistant executive director at the Gary Center, said that before Lopez volunteered her time, there was a large need for legal services at the Gary Center.
“We would get paperwork from the county for child support [and] welfare, and we would help them a lot,” Montoya said. “Within that crowd, people would also ask for lawyers for things like being sued by their landlord and other related issues.”
He added that since a majority of the Gary Center visitors are Spanish speaking, they needed to find an attorney who was bilingual. Lopez fit that need.
Lopez said that she began the legal clinics after a staff member from the Gary Center contacted her office for advice on a woman’s case.
“It was a labor and employment situation where she (the woman) was being mistreated at work,” Lopez said. “I was just inspired by her (staff member), and how she was going out of her way to that extent to really try and get this woman some help.”
She added that the goal behind the legal clinics is to give the community an opportunity to understand how to deal with any and all types of legal issues.
“This access to information is paramount, since a lot of people will either ignore legal issues or hope they go away on their own,” Lopez said. “Being able to get that information or have that question answered is a huge relief for many people.”
Diana Lopez has been a practicing attorney since 2009, and specializes primarily in the areas of labor and employment, and personal injury. She also serves on the Board of the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association as its president-elect.
For more information, please visit: garycenter.org.