Why is it front-page news that law students working for Gonzaga Law School’s University Legal Assistance obtained a routine default judgment against a defendant who chose to ignore a lawsuit that had been filed against him? It appears the law students did exactly what they were supposed to do in the circumstances.
Yet, The Spokesman-Review’s article suggests that they were motivated by some sort of extraordinary and perhaps frivolous zeal, quoting the defendant Pat Lewis as saying, “They do it for the sport of it. Not because it was right.” No, I suspect they did it because allowing Lewis to thumb his nose at the legal system by ignoring a court summons would have been wrong.
A worthier story that the S-R could tell is that of the thousands of low-income and relatively powerless people who have received effective legal services from University Legal Assistance. They have included victims of domestic violence, homeowners facing foreclosure, victims of consumer fraud, tenants who have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous landlords, moms whose kids have been kidnapped by ex-spouses, and more. That story would provide readers with a far more accurate portrayal of ULA’s true role in our community.