State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_Color

Here is some great news about a monthly State Bar event in which lawyers volunteer their time. Thanks for the news to Alberto Rodriguez.

The State Bar of Arizona, azcentral.com and 12 News hosted the Lawyers on Call public service program on Tuesday, March 11. Volunteers answered viewers’ calls regarding their employment and labor issues.

Eight volunteer attorneys participated:

  • Denise Blommel
  • Richard Galvan
  • Richard Klauer
  • Stephanie Leach
  • Leah Lewandowski
  • Dawn Sauer
  • Paul Sheston
  • Sandra Shoupe-Gorga

The attorneys answered 83 calls on employment and labor law. An additional 34 consumers were assisted via social media, which means a total of 117 people were helped.

Here is a sample of the consumer questions:

  • Since Arizona is a right-to-work state, what does that mean to me and my issue?
  • Can employers harass and discriminate against its employees?
  • When are you covered by workers’ compensation?
  • I haven’t been paid overtime wages. How do I go about getting them paid?
  • I was fired for reasons I believe to be unfair; what can I do?

Several questions regarding employment discrimination were asked, including in the areas of age, pregnancy, ethnicity and disabilities.

AZBAR labor and employment lawyers on call 03-11-14

Volunteer Arizona labor and employment lawyers answer consumer questions, March 11, 2014.

The azcentral.com and 12 News teams were successful in adding a social media component to the phone bank. Thirty-four consumers asked their questions via the 12 News Facebook page, and attorney Stephanie Leach responded with her recommendations/advice.

Four of the eight attorneys were first-time volunteers.

Next month, volunteer lawyers will answer consumers’ family law questions on Tuesday, April 8.

AZ StandDown 2014 1 v2

I grow accustomed to learning about the great amounts of volunteerism about Arizona lawyers. That demonstrates how many attorneys recognize the value and importance of providing pro bono assistance.

But a communication I received from Bar colleague Alberto Rodriguez knocked me for a loop. Below, he reports on the volunteers who participated in the annual Arizona Veteran StandDown event. The amount of participation, by lawyers, law students and others, is stunning.

More photos from this year’s StandDown are here.

Thanks and congratulations to everyone who took part. Here’s Alberto:

On Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15 the State Bar of Arizona and 23 of its members participated in the 2014 Arizona Veterans StandDown. The State Bar and volunteer attorneys joined several service providers at the three-day event that offered a variety of health and human services to nearly 1,700 homeless and at-risk veterans in our state. Volunteer attorneys from across the valley fielded legal questions via one-on-one consultations with veterans seeking legal advice.

AZ StandDown 2014 2 v2

The “Civil Law Clinic” organized by the State Bar offered legal consultations by members who practice Family Law, Bankruptcy/Foreclosure/Tax Law, Probate/Trust Law, Elder/Mental Health Law, and Real Estate/Landlord & Tenant Law. In addition, Community Legal Services, Project Salute, and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU participated in the civil law clinic.

Volunteer attorneys provided 177 consultations during the two-day civil law clinic for the 160 veterans who were seen. In addition, many attorneys offered pro-bono legal services after the StandDown to veterans who needed representation. Adding to the legal services provided for veterans, on-site courts coordinated by Gary Kula, Director of the City of Phoenix Public Defender’s Office, saw 937 veterans who needed to address court-related issues.

The following is a list of civil attorney and logistics volunteers:

Attorney Volunteers

  • Dorothy Brogan, Law Office of Dorothy E. Brogan
  • Robert C. Brown, Dickinson Wright
  • Rebecca E. Browning, Browning Law Office, PLLC
  • Kristen Coyne, CKGH Law
  • Rachel Frazier Johnson, Rachel Frazier Johnson Law
  • Steve Gervais, Land Advisors Organization
  • Sean D. Greengard, Community Legal Services
  • Peter Gustafson, Gustafson Law Office, PLLC
  • Taylor House, Taylor House Law, PLC
  • Christine Jensen, Christine Jensen, PC
  • Billy Miller, Law Firm of William A. Miller
  • Judy M. Miller, Judy M. Miller, PC
  • Maya Milovic, Tijjani, Milovic & Phillips, PLC
  • Matt Nelson, Project Salute
  • Nicole L. Pavlik, Forakis Law Firm
  • Bret Rasner, Community Legal Services
  • Jennifer Ryan-Touhill, Touhill Law Offices, PC
  • Bree Stamper-Gimbar, Community Legal Services
  • John Starkey, John Starkey Attorney at Law
  • Nina Targomilk, Community Legal Services
  • Jim P. Webster, James Portman Webster Law Office, PLC
  • Debbie Weecks, Weecks Law
  • John Withee, Withee Law Firm, PLLC

Certified Limited Practice Students (from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU)

  • Laura Anderson
  • Tory Beardsley
  • Christine Bolton
  • Marcy Karin, Clinical Professor of Law
  • Ryan Lockner

Logistics Volunteers

  • Rodrigo Antillon, Lambda Sigma Upsilon
  • Jesus Enriquez, Lambda Sigma Upsilon
  • Jerry Herrera, Community Legal Services
  • Denise Lopez, Magellan Health Services
  • Charles Wilson, Lambda Sigma Upsilon

AZ StandDown 2014 3 v2

pro bono gavelI can’t let January slip away without pointing you toward a great column in Arizona Attorney Magazine. In the last-page column titled “Extra Value for Community Service,” attorney Gary Restaino reminds us all about a revised Arizona rule that is aimed to encourage pro bono work—and that could get you some CLE credit.

Here’s how Gary opens his essay:

“I suspect that if we made a list of lawyers who seek to give back to their communities, and a second list of lawyers who get some degree of agita from the State Bar’s continuing legal education requirements, lots of us would be on both lists. If you are among those counted twice, have I got a deal for you. Starting in January 2014, when providing legal assistance to the indigent through ‘approved legal services organizations,’ you can earn CLE for your pro bono service.”

“Supreme Court Rule 45, as amended, permits a lawyer to claim one hour of CLE for every five hours of pro bono service, up to a maximum of five self-study CLE hours per year. (This would get you halfway to the aspirational 50 hours of annual pro bono assistance.) Wholly apart from the personal satisfaction you can receive from representing those in need, you can save money on CLE videos and courses.”

Read Gary’s whole column here.

To make it easier for you to get started, I reprint here the column’s sidebar that points you to a few great agencies where you might offer your talents.

Offering Your Help

To enroll as a volunteer to provide general legal assistance, contact:

Community Legal Services (Maricopa, Mohave, LaPaz, Yavapai and Yuma Counties)

Southern Arizona Legal Aid (Apache, Cochise, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Navajo, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz Counties)

 DNA-People’s Legal Services (Coconino County, Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe)

An image of Gary’s essay is below; click to enlarge.

My Last Word Gary Restaino Arizona Attorney Magazine January 2014

News today from my State Bar of Arizona colleague Alberto Rodriguez, regarding the Bar’s first call-in program of 2014.

The January 7 Lawyers on Call public service event was hosted by azcentral.com and 12 News. The focus was estate planning—wills and trusts. Here’s a recap.

AZ Bar Lawyers on Call 01-07-14 estate planning

Ten attorneys volunteered their time and experience to answer consumer questions:

  • Steve Evans
  • Michael Friedman
  • Lindsey Jackson
  • T. James Lee
  • Dianne McNamara
  • Norm Miller
  • Mark Moritz
  • Nicole Pavlik
  • Ronald Wilson

Six of the ten attorneys were first-time volunteers.

All together, they answered 204 calls on estate planning, wills and trusts. An additional 33 consumers were assisted via social media, which gave us a total of 237 people who were helped.

Here is a sample of consumer questions:

  • State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorWhat is the difference between a will and a trust? Which do I need?
  • Can I write my own will or do I need an attorney? How much does an average estate plan cost?
  • What should be included in a will or trust?
  • Can I make changes to my already existing will? If so, how do I go about it and how often?
  • How can I prepare to avoid probate?
  • I am not originally from Arizona, do I need to make changes to my will?

The azcentral.com and 12 News teams were successful in adding a social media component to the phone bank. Thirty-three consumers asked their questions via the 12 News Facebook page, and attorney Nicole Pavlik responded with her recommendations/advice.

Next month, volunteer lawyers will answer consumers’ tax law questions on Tuesday, February 4.

Pat Gerrich speaks oh-so-briefly at a Morris Institute event in her honor, Nov. 14, 2013, The Vig, Phoenix.

Pat Gerrich speaks oh-so-briefly at a Morris Institute event in her honor, Nov. 14, 2013, The Vig, Phoenix.

Last night, a crowd of folks gathered to honor the achievements of Patricia Gerrich, Director of the Volunteer Lawyers Program for Arizona.

Attendees at the Morris Institute for Justice event at The Vig in downtown Phoenix—those who know Pat, anyway—probably weren’t surprised that she courteously declined the accolades.

Instead, when it was her turn to speak, she reminded everyone about the vital work of the state’s volunteer lawyers and the Morris Institute.

“This event is not to honor me,” Pat began. “It is about the Institute and all of the important work it does.”

“They do work that helps a lot of people get a fair shake and a fair trial. They are all about access to justice.”

Morris Institute reception invitation 11-14-13 crop 1Enjoy your weekend. And if you get a free moment, click here to read about the organization. While you’re there, don’t miss that little button labeled “Donate to MIJ.”

And if you are a lawyer and want to do even more, I’ve posted some detail below (courtesy of attorney Gary Restaino) about a few fantastic legal services organizations in Arizona that could use your assistance.

Morris Institute for Justice LogoTo enroll as a volunteer to provide general legal assistance, contact:

Community Legal Services (Maricopa, Mohave, LaPaz, Yavapai and Yuma Counties)

Southern Arizona Legal Aid (Apache, Cochise, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Navajo, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz Counties)

DNA–People’s Legal Services (Coconino County, Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe)

Morris Institute reception champagne glasses 11-14-13 crop 2

National Pro Bono Celebration Week 2013 logoNational Pro Bono Week occurs next week. And it’s not too late to share your story or event.

The recognition of attorney pro bono runs from October 20 to October 26.

Read more about the Fourth Annual National Pro Bono Celebration here.

In years past, I’ve been pleased to write about local pro bono events. To get an idea of what’s going on next week, click here.

If you focus in on the interactive map, you’ll see that a sum total of two Arizona events are posted. Well, we all know that’s not right. Feel free to add your own event here.

And if you’d like me to spill a little ink about what’s going on in pro bono at your firm, courthouse or law office, write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org. I’ll be happy to get your word out next week (when the ABA is happy to re-share success stories nationally).

There you go. Short and sweet, just like a Monday should be.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorThis is week 4 in the State Bar of Arizona effort to assist formerly deployed military servicemembers. (You can read more about it here.)

Over the next two years, large numbers of servicemembers will return home from deployment. Coming home from combat can present a difficult reintegration with family, friends and community. Many will face legal issues, increasing the overall demand for military legal assistance.

Help make military legal assistance available for returning servicemembers.

ArmyOneSource logoWaves of returning servicemembers will strain existing military legal assistance programs. Civilian attorneys can help meet the growing need by becoming a part of the State Bar of Arizona’s statewide effort to increase access to military legal assistance.

Help servicemembers, veterans and their families resolve their legal issues.

More attorneys are needed to assist with:

  • Family law
  • Finance/banking
  • Employment
  • Health care
  • Immigration
  • Elder law

Learn how you can provide critical legal services to our returning servicemembers.

To sign up, go here.

Follow the effort on Twitter.

State Bar of Arizona logoHere is some news from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez:

The State Bar of Arizona and 12 News hosted the July Lawyers on Call on Tuesday, July 9, focused on employment and labor law issues. The following is a recap of the public service program.

There were nine attorney volunteers: Denise M. Blommel, Dawn Farrison, Trey Dayes, Richard Galvan, Don P. Johnsen, Leah Lewandowski, Michelle Matheson, Shari C. Mauney and Jessica L. Post. Seven of the nine attorneys were first-time volunteers.

The volunteer attorneys answered an impressive 124 calls on employment and labor law issues.

Here is a sample of the consumer questions:

  • 12 News Phoenix logoExempt vs. Non-Exempt: Should I be getting paid for excessive/overtime hours?
  • Do I qualify for worker’s compensation? What is the process?
  • I believe I’m being sexually harassed at work. What can I do?
  • I am the fifth person over fifty years of age to be fired recently. Is this age discrimination?
  • Can I be fired without knowing the reason?
  • How do I collect unpaid wages?
  • How do I know if I qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act?

The overarching topics were wrongful termination, unemployment benefits, worker’s compensation, wage disputes, and age/race discrimination.

The 12 News team was successful in adding a social media component to the phone bank. Consumers were able to ask their questions via the 12 News Facebook page, and attorney Trey Dayes responded with his recommendations/advice.

pro bono gavelHere is a challenge I offer to you today: Share a law-related item via social media or email.

Whoa, pretty easy, right? I bet you thought I was going to ask for some major heavy lifting. Instead, it is a simple click, share, send, done.

The item is connected to a topic I covered before: a State Bar of Arizona Law Day event that will offer free legal information to those who need it.

Really, truly, honestly free. The information will be provided by generous Arizona attorneys who know that the gap between legal services and people who need them is too, too wide. Those volunteers are offering their time pro bono to help shrink the gap just a bit.

All of the pertinent details are here. If you share nothing else, send this link to anyone you know who may be able to use it. As the State Bar says:

“The 2013 Law Day Legal Aid Clinics will serve as a free legal resource where members of communities from across the Valley and Tucson can attend information sessions on a variety of legal topics.”

“The information sessions will be conducted by volunteer lawyers and will last 90 minutes. Lawyers will provide guests with a presentation on a specific legal topic, as well as reserve time for a question and answer period. Guests can participate in one or more sessions at one of the five partner locations.”

Are you connected via social media or email to any groups that could benefit? Send it their way. Post it on your Facebook timeline. Share it on your neighborhood association listserv. Ask your firm administrator to post it prominently.

Your sharing news of Saturday’s event can help guarantee its success. Possible attendees have to be informed about the locations, the topics, the opportunity on offer. Success of the event, as measured by attendance and questions answered, will help ensure that it can be done—again and again.

For at least a part of the morning, I will be at the event staged at Phoenix’s Burton Barr Central Library. I want to hear some of the information offered, and I want to thank the lawyers who are offering it—and their Saturday.

I hope to see you and your friends there. And if you missed that link, here it is again.

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