SLU LAW Legal Clinics Collaborate with Mission: St. Louis on New Clinic Addition
Jessica L. Ciccone
Director of Communications, Saint Louis University School of Law
Reserved for members of the media.
Saint Louis University School of Law is pleased to announce a new collaboration between the School of Law Legal Clinics and Mission: St. Louis. Mission: St. Louis is a local nonprofit focused on providing men, women and children with social and economic stability by removing barriers to employment.
Through a shared planning process, Saint Louis University, Mission: St. Louis and other partners developed an innovative model to address the fragmented nature of public health-related social services. The model, called Employment and Community Health as One (EACH1), is a workforce and wellness model under one roof. It seeks to offer integrated, collaborative health and human services through a contextual and client-driven framework, in which community partners work together under a shared mission to holistically meet the needs of participants.
The new collaboration between the School of Law Legal Clinics and Mission: St. Louis workforce programs represents the launch of the EACH1 model.
The program will bring a full-time attorney, alumnus Matt Vigil, into the Legal Clinics to work with Mission: St. Louis clients and SLU LAW students. Under the guidance of Professor Brendan Roediger, director of the Civil Advocacy Clinic, Vigil will serve as a satellite clinic office at Mission: St. Louis, working with clients to resolve legal issues that act as barriers to employment.
Everyday people in St. Louis face obstacles created by a legal system that is designed not to allow under-resourced people to have a voice.”Matt Vigil
Vigil graduated from SLU LAW in 2011 and previously worked in the Missouri State Public Defender’s Office, where he handled a variety of high profile cases, including the involuntary mental health commitment cases from across Missouri. In the clinic, he will focus his efforts on the joint mission with Mission: St. Louis, working to create pathways to employment for clients through legal remedies.
"Everyday people in St. Louis face obstacles created by a legal system that is designed not to allow under-resourced people to have a voice," said Vigil. “These obstacles often prevent them from obtaining meaningful employment, housing, or other resources. It can be as little as a traffic ticket that went unpaid, a missed court date, a suspended license, or back child support because the person didn’t know how to apply for a modification. These things make getting a job difficult but also keeping one difficult. The program with Mission: St. Louis will allow SLU LAW and its students to provide clients a voice in the legal system to help remove the obstacles they face in trying to escape the cycle of poverty.”
The collaboration evolved out years of conversations with clinic professor Susan McGraugh, director of the Criminal Defense Clinic, who has long looked for a way for law students to support the nonprofit’s work.
“We have seen many of our clients get trapped in the criminal justice system,” said McGraugh. “The focus of Mission: St. Louis to empower people to end the cycle of poverty aligns well with the law school’s mission of service to the community and being people for others. I am so happy we were able to work with this organization to help remove these legal roadblocks.”
“By removing the legal barriers, our clients will be able to advance through the Mission: St. Louis programming and achieve their goals of obtaining sustainable and lasting employment,” said Josh Wilson, president and executive director of Mission: St. Louis. “This effort will serve the missions of SLU LAW and Mission: St. Louis to serve the community around us by standing with individuals finding a path out of poverty.”
About Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics
For more than 40 years the Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics have created a tradition of social justice by providing invaluable legal services to the greater St. Louis community. Dedicated to the University’s Jesuit mission of advocating for the disadvantaged and the betterment of the community at large, the Legal Clinics provide unique and challenging opportunities in a supportive experiential learning environment for every student who desires a clinical experience. For more information, please visit slu.edu/law.
About Mission: St. Louis
Founded in 2006, Mission: St. Louis (M:STL) exists to provide men, women and children with social and economic mobility. They are removing extraordinary barriers to employment by providing individualized pathways to self-sufficiency and direct connections to jobs.
Their cornerstone program, Beyond Jobs, equips men and women with job training, a community of support and employment opportunities so they can access livable wage jobs. While only 16% of participants are working when they enter Beyond Jobs, two months later over 60% are employed and five months later more than 73% are employed.