Justice Champion: Dee Arnold

Dee Arnold – wife, mother of two, attorney at WillCounsel and volunteer – established and now serves at an Administer Justice site located in Saint Charles, Illinois at Christ Community Church. The clinic provides a wide range of services to meet the immediate and future needs of individuals facing civil legal matters, who are unable to afford an attorney. Dee, happy to be free of her burdensome legal career, learned that God can –and will—use the worst experiences of your life to create something amazing. God’s hand can be seen along Dee’s life path. Truly, He used every piece of her story to lead her to the work she does for Him creating the opportunity to shine the light of Jesus Christ in dark places.

GJI: Tell us about your journey to Justice Champion. How did you find Gospel Justice Initiative?

DA: GJI was not quite established when I first became involved over 4 years ago. Bruce was still with Administer Justice (AJ) and he was just transferring away from AJ to GJI. I first heard about the concept of gospel justice when a friend who worked at a big local church received the book, Gospel Justice. She knew I was a lawyer, so forwarded it to me.

GJI: What was the biggest fear or challenge you had to overcome before “jumping in”?

DA: I had so many fears.  I didn’t think I was qualified as an attorney in general, I was a mom of two young kids and didn’t think I had the time. Anxiety attacks plagued me every time I thought about practicing, and I didn’t want to address or deal with so many things from my past. I was so afraid; I thought I would have to do it all on my own and from scratch and I didn’t have a clue where to begin.

GJI: What was the greatest misconception you had about starting a gospel justice center?

DA: That I had to know everything about law and starting a clinic.  The support system I received from Administer Justice and church support were overwhelming. Clearly, I didn’t have to do everything on my own.  The most important thing for me was when I realized this is “God’s clinic,” and He wanted this clinic established. Once I grasped that concept, I had complete confidence that God would enable me and strengthen me to get the clinic running; that He would provide for the clinic.  This was not about me; it was about Him.  I was not qualified; I had weaknesses in every area. That is when God shows up in the biggest ways!

GJI: What has been a joy or encouragement to you?

DA: I love our volunteers!  I have the best team. The attorneys range in age from 27 through 60+ and the friendships and mentoring relationships that have developed over the years are so cool to see. Some have described walking into our clinic as “electric” because the people are just wonderful. They truly care about each other.  They are dedicated, supportive and compassionate.

GJI: Share something about the community in which your center is located – are there any needs that may be unique to that community?

DA: Our clinic is in an area surrounded by expensive houses and includes mid to high economic neighborhoods.  It’s been wonderful to see past that and to the (mostly hidden) hurting in our community.

GJI: Is there a Bible verse that really resonated with you throughout your journey?

DA: Besides Micah 6:8, my whole journey was about faith, redemption, and obedience.  My faith in God grew exponentially because I had to rely on Him and His strengths.  He redeemed the broken past of my legal career and continues to do so to this day. Luke 11:28, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.  God promises blessings to those who obey” is my obedience verse in response to Micah 6:8.

GJI: The book Gospel Justice played a role in your story. What spoke to you from your reading?

DA: God does not call the qualified; He qualifies the called.  That was me exactly.

GJI: How can we pray for you?

DA: Pray we can serve each client individually and serve them well. Pray God would grant us eyes to see the heart of our clients and remember that their spiritual health is more important than just their legal problem. Oh, and on a personal note, pray for the never-ending balancing act of being a wife, mom, lawyer and volunteer.

Want more? Watch this powerful video of Dee’s story, like and follow Administer Justice on Facebook and visit  ccclife.org.

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  1. Walter on August 7, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Was wondering how and where do you determine if someone can afford legal costs.
    And what sort of help you provide (case category).

    • Bruce Strom on August 7, 2018 at 3:31 pm

      Jackson – Depends on location. While all locations focus on those who cannot afford attorneys, many do not require income verification for advice and referral. Those locations that provide representation are required to income verify based on a guideline set by the State Supreme Court – usually 125 or 150% of HHS poverty guidelines. Types of cases are based on the needs in a community. Those vary by community but generally cover the range of legal issues encountered by those of low to moderate income.