Presidents’ Day 2018. The day that will live in infamy for the staff of Lincoln’s Legal Aid office. Most woke to the news that in the early hours of the morning, a fire had basically destroyed the eighth floor of the Terminal Building — Legal Aid’s office. Staff spent the holiday finding temporary working arrangements and were back in court by the next day, never missing a beat despite challenging circumstances.

“We were experiencing a crisis at our office, but the world kept turning, and our clients still had a need for legal representation,” said Juvenile Attorney Laurel Johnson.

Presidents’ Day 2019. Exactly one year later, Lincoln staff spent their first day back in the Terminal Building, now located on the third floor. After a year of sharing offices and a kitchen doubling as a computer lab, Lincoln once more has an appropriate space to do its meaningful work, and staff is grateful.

“We are so happy to be back in the Terminal Building and to have a space more conducive to a legal practice,” said Paralegal Heather Bernt. “It’s been a long road for us”

Along with a return to the Terminal Building, Lincoln changed their Access to Justice walk-in center hours to afternoons: 1-4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

While it was a year of compromise for the entire office, it wasn’t without its benefits.

“Overall, getting though the displacement caused by the fire and having to share space for a year really brought us together as an office,” said Bernt. “Everyone worked together very well to continue to serve clients even when we had nothing. It really proved what a great team we have.”

Legal Aid of Nebraska

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