Nonprofit law center opens in Roanoke

Published: Jul. 20, 2017 at 7:45 PM EDT
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Cynthia Thomas sought help from four lawyers, before turning to Devon Rood Slovensky and the Virginia Nonprofit Law Center for help with her divorce.

"I would not have been able to have legal assistance," Thomas told us, "and so it's really doing so much for me in helping me to fight what I'm going through."

The center provides another option for people who haven't been able to afford traditional legal services and who don't qualify for free assistance.

"I worked in legal aid for three years and I grew up in this community," Slovensky told us.

"My dad's a hairdresser, and was a very hard-working man, but I always knew that if we ever needed to hire an attorney for something that wouldn't have been something that would have been available. And I want to make sure that modest means Virginians can continue to have representation."

The ribbon cutting at the center's office in downtown Roanoke brought city leaders, local attorneys and representatives of groups such as Legal Aid, who recognize the need the nonprofit law center hopes to address.

Josh Johnson is a Roanoke attorney and a member of the center's board.

"There have been other nonprofit law centers like this that are set up on this same model across the country," Johnson said. "And they've done very well. So I think it's something that Roanoke needs and is going to be fantastic for the community."

The center offers assistance, primarily in cases involving domestic violence, and in proceedings initiated by another party who has legal representation.

The assistance isn't free, but the nonprofit law center has a sliding scale, based on a client's ability to pay.