Since 1994, husband and wife Robert and Ellen Dickman have run the William Booth Legal Aid Clinic, providing legal counsel to participants of The Salvation Army Detroit Harbor Light Center, as well as individuals within the community at or below the poverty level. After nearly two decades of service, the Dickmans have retired and are passing the baton to the clinic’s former assistant director, Amy M. Roemer, who is succeeding as clinic director.
Founded by Robert and Ellen Dickman, The William Booth Legal Aid Clinic was opened as an independent 501(c)3. In 2000, the clinic was absorbed by The Salvation Army. Since its inception, the clinic has resolved more than 19,380 cases involving support, custody, advocacy, tickets, probation, parenting time and credit issues. More than 160 student interns have assisted the clinic’s staff in providing legal counsel over the years.
The idea for a legal clinic came to Robert Dickman while he was working for his family’s construction company. Realizing he wanted to give back to the people of Detroit, and discussing different ideas with wife Ellen, it was decided that a legal aid clinic would have the greatest impact on the community. Robert served as clinic director and lead attorney from the clinic’s opening day until his retirement. A native Detroiter, he earned a business administration degree from Wayne State University and a law degree from University of Detroit Mercy.
Ellen Dickman served as the clinic’s executive director, since its inception, ensuring the clinic continued to serve the legal needs of those living at or below the poverty line in southeast Michigan. Originally from New York, she earned an education degree from the State University of New York College of Buffalo.
Amy M. Roemer, a resident of Royal Oak, has been named Robert and Ellen’s successor and promoted to clinic director. Prior to working at the clinic, Roemer operated a private law practice and worked for Judge Fred Mester of the Oakland County Circuit Court. She received her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a doctorate from Chicago-Kent College of Law.
To make a tax deductible contribution to The William Booth Legal Aid Clinic, visit donate.salvationarmyusa.org/easternmichigan/WBLAC.