About New Covenant Legal Services
Read below to learn more about the need for NCLS, services we provide the community and the team members who help us accomplish our mission.
New Covenant Legal Services (NCLS) provides legal services to individuals on fixed and limited incomes who cannot afford private legal counsel. Our mission is to demonstrate that Jesus Christ’s love and justice are sovereign in the world. This mission is accomplished through a holistic approach to solving legal problems and achieving justice in partnership with churches and individuals in the metropolitan St. Louis area.
The U.S. is one of the most underserved countries in the world for access to legal services. For instance:
- The U.S. ranks 97th in the world for providing affordable access to justice;.
- 1 in 3 people cannot afford an attorney.
In St. Louis alone, we estimate that approximately 350 people per week go to Court on civil cases without legal counsel.
Cases NCLS Handle
- Consumer Fraud
- Debt Collection Actions
- Ex-Offender Rights/ Services
- Landlord/ Tenant Issues
- Lemon Cars
- Payday Loans
- Racial Discrimination
Cases NCLS Does Not Handle
- Criminal/ Felony Cases
- Domestic/ Child Custody
- Immigration Cases
- Social Security/ Disability
Do you need legal services? NCLS does a careful screening process before we decide to take a case. Read about our new client policy.
Al W. Johnson, Executive Director
Al W. Johnson is the Director and founder of NCLS. Al has been a practicing attorney for over 40 years and had his own law practice for 20 years. He has broad experience as a litigator with an emphasis on business and commercial litigation. Al has handled everything from small claims consumer fraud cases to multi-million dollar complex commercial litigation.
He has also handled personal injury cases, criminal prosecution and defense, civil rights violations involving both religious discrimination and police misconduct, and a variety of other matters. As a veteran of over 70 jury trials he reevaluated his life and career in 2015 and decided what provided him with the greatest professional satisfaction was helping those who struggle to afford experienced legal counsel.
Originally from West Des Moines, Iowa, Al earned a degree in Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1973 and returned for a Law Degree in 1981. Al is married and he and his wife, Susan, have two adult daughters. In addition to his legal activities, Al serves as an elder for his church and also coaches track and field athletes in his spare time for the St. Louis Warriors.
Brandi Miller, Part Time Attorney
Brandi Miller joined NCLS as a part time attorney in March 2020. She has had a long history with New Covenant Legal Services, including being a Board member and volunteer attorney since 2016. Before law school Brandi worked as an intern for The Law Offices of Al Johnson – Al’s private law practice – from 1999-2001. She earned her undergraduate degree from UMSL in 2000. Following that she attended law school at University of Missouri-Columbia from 2001 – 2004 receiving her degree in 2004. Brandi has been a practicing attorney in the St. Louis area since 2004 and has most recently had a private practice in Clayton with an emphasis on domestic/child custody, criminal and general civil law. Brandi also has held a number of part-time municipal court jobs including prosecuting attorney for Village of Uplands Park Municipal Court, and she has worked as a Municipal Court Judge for several area municipalities.
Brandi is the proud mother of twin girls and she is also active in community affairs, including serving on the Richmond Heights School Board.
Keannah Moore, Legal Assistant
Longtime intern Keannah Moore has officially become a part of the NCLS paid staff. Keannah, who has worked as an unpaid volunteer for almost two years at NCLS, has been hired as a part-time legal assistant. Keannah will replace Bethany Tope, who recently resigned from NCLS to take a job with a private law firm. Keannah graduated from Tower Grove Christian Academy where she was Student Body President in her senior year. After graduation, she went to Evangel College in Springfield, Missouri where she became a member of RAIN, a school organization that spreads the gospel through art forms such as spoken word and drama. In 2019, she decided to move back home to complete her education locally. Currently, she is in her second semester as a Junior at UMSL and majors in History with a 3.85 GPA.
Keannah plans on taking the LSAT this fall and going to law school in the future. She is thankful and blessed to be presented this opportunity and is excited for the plan God has for her. Keannah and her family currently worship at Equation Church in North St. Louis City.
Hal Bush (Chairman) – Professor, St. Louis University
Ted Boldin – Pastor, Metro Christian Worship Center
Eric Bronner – Attorney at Law
Kurt Eisleben – Retired, First Bank
Melissa Elliott – Co-Owner, J-KEM, Inc.
Priscilla Gunn – Attorney at Law
Eddie Jones – Program Manager Litzsinger Road Ecology Center
Margaret Koebbe – Trustee, The Koebbe Family Charitable Trust
Jasmine McCormick – Attorney at Law
What types of cases does New Covenant Legal Services take?
NCLS handles the following types of cases: Consumer Fraud, Debt Collection Actions, Ex-Offender Rights/ Services, Expungements, Landlord/ Tenant Issues, Lemon Cars, Payday Loans, and Racial or Religious Discrimination.
HOW MUCH WILL NCLS'S SERVICE COST ME?
NCLS bases it's pricing on each individual's need. We generally provide services to individuals at nominal rates or what we call a “low-bono”
basis (a small charge for legal fees) depending on the nature of the problem and the
individual’s personal and family resources. This can be anywhere from $50 to $500 depending on the case and circumstances. We also provide “pro bono” representation (no charge).
DOES NEW COVENANT LEGAL SERVICES HANDLE Criminal CASES?
No, NCLS does not handle criminal cases.
HOW DO I QUALIFY FOR NCLS SERVICES?
1. New Covenant Legal Services (“NCLS”) provides legal services to individuals living on fixed or low-incomes. NCLS’s mission is to demonstrate that Jesus Christ’s love and justice are sovereign in the world. This mission will be accomplished through a Christ-centered approach to addressing legal problems and achieving social justice, in partnership with Christian churches in the St. Louis area.
2. The types of cases NCLS handles are listed on the main page of the website.
3. To be eligible for NCLS services, the individual must normally meet the following criteria: (a)Be on a fixed income. This means an individual income of less than $25,000 per year or a family income of less than $35,000 for an individual with three or more dependents; (b) Be a resident of St. Louis City or County. (c) Not have received counsel or representation from NCLS in the past 24 months for the same issue; and (d) Not currently be represented by an attorney on the same legal issue.
4. Most referrals come through one of the following sources: NCLS-sponsored clinics at various local Christian churches, faith-based ministries, other Legal Services organizations, or our volunteer attorneys or lay volunteers. NCLS will take cold calls but we may ask that the caller go through one of our intake clinics held at various churches. It the goal of NCLS to not simply resolve legal problems in a Biblical fashion, but to assist its clients, when necessary, in achieving personal, spiritual, and financial maturity as they walk through the process of resolving their legal needs and problems with NCLS.
5. Individuals seeking services or wishing to make a referral should call the NCLS offices at (314) 726-6489 and ask to speak with NCLS Director Mr. Al Johnson or a NCLS staff member. As noted above, if the potential client is calling NCLS directly rather than coming through a referral source, we may ask that they make an appointment at one of our intake clinics. We do not take walk-ins; we ask that you make an appointment.
6. If NCLS decides to take the case, a contract will be signed with the client outlining the terms of the representation. The representation will either be conducted by Mr. Johnson directly, or by one of the volunteer attorneys who partners with NCLS.
7. If the new case is referred to one of NCLS’s volunteer attorneys, NCLS will maintain regular contact with the attorney to whom the case is referred and offer counsel and/or litigation support services when necessary.
8. NCLS reserves the right to refuse any case that is referred if our review of the circumstances indicates that NCLS is not able to help the individual or that they otherwise do not meet our guidelines.