New Castle News

March 2, 2014

Law association makes new pitch for office space

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Neighborhood Legal Services Association is making another pitch to occupy some space at New Castle city hall.

In September, the agency asked the city to provide the space formerly occupied by the police department free of charge. The majority of council opposed the idea.

At this week’s council meeting, Michelle DeBord, managing attorney for the association, offered a new proposal.

She said the Lawrence County Bar Association will provide some financial assistance, which will allow it to pay some rental amount to the city.

The Lawrence County commissioners also have authorized some money to allow the association to pay rent for four to five months at its current location in the Temple Building, she said.

The association, which provides free legal service to low-income residents on civil matters, faces the closing of its New Castle office and one in Butler because of funding cuts.

Offices in Beaver and Pittsburgh will remain open.

DeBord said it’s not unusual for the agency to get walk-ins every day. She noted that on Feb. 21, there were 14 walk-ins.

If there is no office in New Castle, clients could still be served, she noted.

Previously, she said contacting the office by telephone is not the same “as having a place where they can talk to a live person.”

At Councilman Tim Fulkerson’s suggestion, DeBord will meet with Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo and draft a proposal that can be presented to council for consideration.