By Frances Johnson
Despite the old adage that says justice is blind, the American justice system still sees money. If you find yourself in legal trouble and don’t qualify for free legal services — for example, from a public defender or legal aid society — but also don’t have enough money to pay a large law firm several hundred dollars an hour to represent you, your options for access to justice are limited to non-existent. Or they were until several years ago when Open Legal Services opened its doors in downtown Salt Lake City.
Founded by Shantelle Argyle and Daniel Spencer in 2013, just after they graduated from the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, Open Legal Services is a nonprofit offering legal assistance and representation on a sliding fee scale based on clients’ incomes and family size. Hourly rates at Open Legal Services range from $75 at the bottom to $145 at the top.
“We’re basically trying to fill the gaps,” Argyle said.