Christian Legal Aid Office (CLAO) is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing legal services to the poor and serving the local church within Orange County, California. God’s Word calls upon His people to “defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:9) yet local churches are generally not well equipped to provide direct legal assistance to their members. CLAO works to bridge the gap between the churches call to ensure that justice is administered equally and fairly (Deuteronomy 25:13-16) and the poor’s need for legal advocacy.
CLAO organizes legal clinics at various Orange County churches to provide free legal assistance to those in their community through the use of volunteer attorneys and non-attorney volunteers, including law students and staff.
When attending a legal clinic, a potential client may be given an intake appointment with a staff member or volunteer. At this interview, information is gathered to determine the legal and financial needs of the potential client and whether CLAO is able to offer assistance. Following the intake interview, CLAO provides “next steps” which can include pro bono representation, pro se coaching (assisting client in self-representation), legal advice, or referral to Christian attorneys or other agencies.
Claire Rhee and Julie Resner serve as volunteer supervising attorneys.
Clients are provided legal advice, assisted in preparing court documents, and/or provided pro bono representation when resources are available. Law students gain practical legal experience under attorney supervision.
Trinity Law School. Trinity Law School currently offers a home to CLAO by providing office space for staff. CLAO offers an internship opportunity to Trinity Law School students whereby they may gain practical experience in a legal environment.
Local Churches. CLAO has been blessed with the ongoing financial contributions of local churches such as Calvary Chapel WestGrove and TerraNova Church.
Christian Legal Society. Christian Legal Society is a national organization of Christian legal professionals providing many services including legal aid.
Gospel Justice Initiative. Gospel Justice Initiative is a national organization that provides the framework and support for local Christian communities to start and sustain a viable justice center.
Our Board of Directors:
Paul Lorelli, Esq., President
Gary Streed, Treasurer
Jeffrey Kao, Esq.
Claire Rhee, Esq.