lawyers on call

Next Tuesday, February 2, the State Bar and 12News are co-sponsoring a lawyer call-in program that may benefit someone you know—or it may even benefit you!

12 News logoThe topic for Lawyers on Call that night will be estate planning, wills and trusts. It runs from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. that evening, and the call-in number is 602-258-1212. More detail is here.

After the event, I’ll share the names of the lawyers who generously gave of their time at the event.

12 News logoI regularly report on the activities of Lawyers on Call, a State Bar public service program hosted at the ofices of 12 News, the Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. At the events, volunteer lawyers answer consumer questions on various topics. On Tuesday, March 31, the event focused on tax laws. In a moment, I’ll share the names of the generous volunteer attorneys. But first, it’s worth noting that this version of Lawyers on Call included a new development: the use of a streaming video app, Periscope, to better address some consumer questions. To add to the functionality, this past month’s event also includes a video recap (see it at the end of this post). I am very impressed by the video’s quality, achieved via free apps. That makes me think I should try my hand at some videos myself! State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorThe Lawyers on Call news comes, as always, from my innovative colleague Alberto Rodriguez: Five attorneys volunteered their time and expertise on March 31, 2015, to offer legal advice on tax law. The attorneys were:

The lawyers answered 118 calls, 23 questions via Facbook, and a handful on Periscope, a streaming video app that had 55 participants. Sample consumer questions:

  • How do I report on gaming winnings?
  • How does the Affordable Health Care Act affect my file/return?
  • What are the penalties if I file late or file an extension?
  • How does filing bankruptcy affect my 2015 file/return?

Several callers reported scam activity—receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be an “IRS” representative who request personal information and payments. Facebook continues to be a successful component of Lawyers on Call, as attorney Derek Kaczmarek answered 23 questions posted on the 12 News fan page. In addition, the 12 News social media team launched the use of Periscope, an interactive streaming video app where participants could ask their questions live. Four out of the five attorneys were first-time volunteers. All volunteers were extremely satisfied with the quality of the questions overall and were excited to have participated in the Lawyers on Call public service program. Here is a terrific video recap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n83m1ZbclBs&feature=youtu.be

Volunteer lawyers answer consumer questions on landlord-tenant issues at the Lawyers on Call public service program, Nov. 11, 2014.

Volunteer lawyers answer consumer questions on landlord-tenant issues at the Lawyers on Call public service program, Nov. 11, 2014.

Today I share some news from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez:

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

Five volunteer attorneys assisted with the program: Clare Abel (Burch & Cracchiolo PA); Kristen Coyne (CKGH Law); Clint Dunaway (Dunaway Law Group PLC); Mark Heldenbrand (J. Mark Heldenbrand PC); and Nick Wood (Snell & Wilmer).

The lawyers answered 28 calls on landlord/tenant issues. Compared to previous phone banks, there was a substantial decrease in calls.

Sample consumer questions:

  • How can I break my lease? How long of a notice do I have to provide my landlord?
  • I don’t have a lease agreement with my landlord, how do I request one?
  • My landlord won’t fix issues with my unit. What can I do?
  • Fumigation has not fixed the bedbug and roach infestation, what can I do?
  • How do I evict a tenant?

One out of the five attorneys was a first-time volunteer. Returning volunteers were surprised at the low call volume, but were hopeful that consumers are experiencing fewer issues with their landlords/tenants.

Next month, volunteer lawyers will answer consumers’ mental health, disability, and elder law questions on Tuesday, December 2, the final Lawyers on Call public service program of 2014.

Arizona family law attorneys answer consumer questions during Lawyers on Call, September 2, 2014.

Arizona family law attorneys answer consumer questions during Lawyers on Call, September 2, 2014.

Some news from my State Bar colleague Alberto Rodriguez:

On Tuesday, September 2, volunteer lawyers offered their time to answer family law questions as part of the State Bar’s successful Lawyers on Call program.

Those volunteer attorneys answered 96 calls on family law issues—66 of which were addressed via social media. That resulted in a total of 162 people who were helped.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorThe volunteer attorneys were: Steven Clark, Cody L. Hayes, Heidi Lukacsik, Kelly Mendoza, Jennifer Moshier, Felicia Schumacher, Mike Skupin and Margo A. Shorr.

Two of the eight attorneys were first-time volunteers.

Attorneys received a wide variety of consumer questions. Among them:

  • How can I enforce a child support order? Can I modify a current child support order?
  • How can I terminate child support?
  • Do I have to allow for parenting time if I’m receiving child support?
  • What should I do if I can’t locate my child’s parent to request child support?
  • Do I have any rights as a grandparent?
  • Can I file for a divorce if my spouse doesn’t want to?
  • Can I file bankruptcy if I’m going through a divorce?
  • How do I enforce a divorce decree?

Social media has increased in popularity during the years Lawyers on Call has been in place. On September 2, 75 consumers asked their questions via the 12 News Facebook page, 66 of which attorneys Heidi Lukacsik and Margo Shorr responded to with their recommendations/advice.

Next month, volunteer lawyers will answer consumers’ bankruptcy and foreclosure questions on Tuesday, October 7.

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.

pro bono gavelHere is some news from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez. He regularly reports on a successful program providing legal information to the public. Congratulations and thanks to those lawyers who shared their time and talent.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorThe State Bar of Arizona and 12 News hosted the August Lawyers on Call on Tuesday, August 6. The topic covered in that evening’s public service program was immigration law.

Eight attorneys volunteered their time and experience to help inform callers about immigration issues. Seven of the eight attorneys were first-time volunteers. The lawyers were (click their names for more information):

A total of 51 calls were answered by the volunteer attorneys—which is substantially lower when compared to other phone banks. This is the second immigration Lawyers on Call phone bank that has resulted in low numbers—an issue we’ll consider when planning for 2014. As always, our volunteers offered helpful information, solutions and resources to callers.

12 News Phoenix logoHere is a sample of consumer questions:

  • Can I have dual citizenship? If so, how do I go about it?
  • How do I get legal status for my undocumented fiancé?
  • What are the requirements for Deferred Action?
  • Will a minor criminal charge affect my eligibility for citizenship/Deferred Action?
  • Can children petition on behalf of their parents?

Overarching questions were related to qualifications for citizenship and how to proceed with the citizenship petition.