'Pay it Forward' helps Legal Aid benefit the area

'Pay it Forward' helps Legal Aid benefit the area

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- People looking for legal aid services have a new way of giving back.

Legal Aid provides Douglas County with a vital service. They have a mission to give legal services to as many people as possible, but they knew they couldn't do it alone.

So, they've started a new program. "The pilot program was our answer to the question of how to achieve justice for the low income communities we serve, with the resources we already have," said Sharon Lee Schwartz, the LASO Regional Director.

It's called 'Pay it Forward.'

For every hour those at the Roseburg Legal Aid Services of Oregon (LASO) put in on a case, they're asking the clients to do the same.  But not necessarily with legal work.

Those in the program can donate their time to non-profits, help someone with yard work, basically put their skills to work for the community.

It's currently a pilot program, and it's the first legal aid provider in the nation to do so.

Professor Edgar Cahn, who invented the idea of time banking, was visiting the Roseburg office to thank them for their work to start the project. "Without that kind of partnership we can't get to justice. And this, to me, is the dawn of a whole new day for that possibility," Cahn said.

Professor Cahn also founded the national Legal Aid program, and he's thrilled to finally see two of his passions coming together.

So far, Schwartz says they've had several people pay it forward, and she hopes more will join to help give back.