In 1981, while in law school, Barry Boykin read about the work of legal aid attorneys in a book called "The Reluctant Defender" that described the founding of the Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic. Barry went on to meet Michael Mosher and Dan Van Ness, the founding attorneys of Austin Christian Law Center (ACLC).
At that time, ACLC was the only agency located west of Kedzie Avenue in Chicago that is providing legal assistance to the indigent at minimal or no cost. ACLC developed a volunteer panel of over ninety attorneys and paralegals whose pro bono efforts helped keep costs to a minimum. Being housed in the same building with Circle Urban Ministries it became possible to serve many of the non-legal needs of clients, such as medical counseling, emergency food/clothing/shelter and supplemental education.
In 1986, as a new lawyer, after a year or so of accepting volunteer cases, Barry applied for a position of staff attorney at ACLC at the suggestion of Gerald P. Nordgren, the supervising attorney at ACLC. He had the privilege of working under the mentorship of Jim Godlewski and Gail Sears Petrich during those early years. For the next sixteen years, Barry has handled a wide range of cases including social security disability, criminal, juvenile, landlord tenant, domestic relations, and consumer matters. He is today still involved in the Austin community and serves on the board of Circle Urban Ministries--the largest nonprofit social service agency in Austin.
In 1996-1997, ACLC merged with Chicago Legal Clinic. This has resulted in an active, important extension of the services that were provided to individuals seeking legal assistance by both agencies and has broadened the efforts to further help meet the vast unmet legal need.