McKeever applauds the city of Waco’s recent decision to ease its restrictions on hiring ex-convicts, and he wants to connect with the new McLennan County Reintegration Roundtable, which aims to increase opportunities for that population.
McKeever said not all jobs are appropriate for ex-cons, but employers should make decisions on a case-by-case basis rather than rejecting anyone with a criminal history.
In more than a decade of working with the poor and dispossessed, McKeever has witnessed the frustration of unemployed ex-cons first hand.
Since 2012, he has served low-income clients as an advocate in areas of civil law such as employment, immigration and landlord-tenant disputes. He pioneered the legal aid position and raised money to make the job a reality.
“We’re trying to get low-income people access to justice in a way that’s efficient and beneficial,” he said.
An Abilene native, McKeever attended Baylor University and volunteered with Mission Waco before graduating in 2001. He worked in various urban ministries and earned a degree from Princeton Theological Seminary before the idea of going to law school even occurred to him.
“I continued to see so many needs in the people I was serving, and so many came back to the need for legal services, justice and advocacy,” he said. “Going back to law school was a natural extension for me.”
McKeever earned a law degree from Vanderbilt University, then moved back to Waco with his wife and three children in 2012. He created the legal advocacy position he holds and for the first year and a half raised all of the money for his salary and operations.
Sheryl Swanton, managing attorney at the Lone Star Legal Aid office in Waco, met with McKeever as he was trying to start his legal aid ministry and encouraged him. Her office offers civil legal services to low-income clients but has to turn most away because of budget concerns.