Dothan native and Attorney defends ‘Access to Justice’ for residents of Houston County

Dothan native Kristy Kirkland, Staff Attorney in the Dothan Office, knew she wanted to be an attorney when she won her first mock trial in elementary school.

“When I was in fifth grade our enrichment class decided they would put the Big Bad Wolf from the Three Little Pigs, on trial,” Kirkland said. “I was picked to be the defense attorney. We got an acquittal for the Big Bad Wolf. It made front page news in the Dothan Eagle. I have it hanging in my office now, where it says, ‘The Big Bad Wolf Not Guilty.’ I always tell people I won my first case in fifth grade. Ever since then, the bug bit me, and I never really wavered at what I wanted to do.”

Kirkland, who started with LSA on May 23, earned her J.D. (2008) and B.S in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Alabama (2003). She has served in private practice and specializes in juvenile, probate-guardianships/commitments, social security disability, and immigration law – specifically special immigrant juvenile status cases.

“I’ve dealt with people at some of their worst and I think that shaped me in terms of compassion,” Kirkland said. “Just hearing the struggle and the stories that are making people want to come here [to the U.S] and listening to the stories of people who are already here and are being driven down by the lack of access to justice – with guardianships and commitments and social security disability, it has really made me grateful for what I have. It makes me want to advocate and fight for others.”

Kirkland has also served as President of the Houston County Bar Association, as a member of The University of Alabama Community Affairs Board of Advisors, and as a Blount Advisory Fellow at The University of Alabama. She also serves as board member for the nonprofit organizations House of Ruth, which offers resources to domestic violence victims of the Houston County area, and Patti Rutland Jazz, dedicated to bringing dance and the love of dance to the Wiregrass.

“We have a dance company, an outreach program in the local schools where we teach dance to all children once a week through P.E. classes, and the nonprofit component, where we offer low cost – no cost dance instruction to children,” Kirkland said. “I like to be around the creative people of Patti Rutland Jazz.”

In practice for 11 years, Kirkland worked briefly as a paralegal for a law firm in Birmingham and as a PAI Attorney for LSA, before choosing LSA permanently. For Kirkland, LSA offers an opportunity to be a “voice” for the voiceless.

“I want to be an effective advocate for people that need it – that is what I am hoping to do,” Kirkland said, who has a passion for children and the elderly. “I am hoping I can make a big difference – continue to ‘fight the good fight’ and advocate for people who need access to justice.”

When not practicing, Kirkland enjoys refinishing furniture, especially rocking chairs. Kirkland has two dogs and a few cats.

For more information about our advocates, please visit: www.legalservicesalabama.org.

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