, General News

Legal Support Center Opens at Wake County Courthouse

The Center is available to help people better understand our legal system.

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Chief Justice Paul Newby and Wake County District Court Judge Ashleigh Parker Dunston made remarks at the formal opening and ribbon cutting of the new Wake County Legal Support Center in the Wake County Courthouse in Raleigh on Friday, January 13. Judge Dunston was instrumental in the creation of the Center and worked collaboratively with the North Carolina Administrative Office of the CourtsLegal Aid of North Carolina, the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice CommissionWake County Government, and Wake County court officials to develop and create the Center to fulfill a need to help residents understand the complexity of the legal system.

“I'm so grateful to so many people for this becoming a reality,” said Judge Dunston. “The Wake County Legal Support Center will be life-changing for the citizens of Wake County as they navigate their civil legal needs. We all must commit today that we cannot stop until all 100 counties have some sort of similar model to continue our efforts to ensure equal access to justice for all North Carolinians.”

“I'm proud of the Wake County Commissioners and their dedication and support for equal justice for all the citizens of Wake County,” said Chief Justice Newby during the ceremony.  "I so appreciate the vision and hard work of Judge Dunston and all the others that have made this project a reality.”

The Center, which is located in a newly renovated space on the first floor of the Wake County Courthouse, held a soft opening on January 9 and formally opened to the public on January 13. The center will not provide legal advice. It will provide information about the legal system and available resources free of charge. 

The goal is to help people—especially those who cannot afford or choose not to hire an attorney—understand our legal system which can often feel confusing or inaccessible. This assistance may include providing information about how the legal system works, what the relevant laws are, what to expect throughout the legal process, what deadlines might apply, and more. 

In its initial phase, the Center will focus mainly on the two kinds of legal proceedings for which data show there is the greatest need: family law matters and landlord-tenant matters.   

“Part of the Equal Access to Commission’s mission is to empower North Carolinians to meet legal needs,” said Jennifer Lechner, executive director of the Equal Access to Justice Commission. “The Wake County Legal Support Center will serve as the physical space where our Wake County neighbors can meaningfully address their civil legal issues. We are grateful to the many partners who made the Center possible.”

The Equal Access to Justice Commission will staff and operate the Center. It will be open daily from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. and provide print materials and general support to those who seek assistance.  

Wake County Legal Support Center
Wake County Courthouse
316 Fayetteville St. Mall, Room 125
Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: 919.792.5374
Email: support@wakelsc.org
Website: www.wakelsc.org