Consumer assistance SBA 10-08-15

For this Monday morning, here is some heartening news from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez:

The State Bar of Arizona was one of many organizations who participated in ABC15’s “On the Road with Let Joe Know,” a consumer assistance event held on Thursday, October 8, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Tempe Marketplace. The Bar recruited volunteer lawyers who answered participants’ questions regarding consumer issues.

Topics covered included family law, employment law, construction law, and products liability.

There were five volunteer attorneys:

  • Denise Blommel, Denise M. Blommel PLLC
  • Dave Degnan, Degnan Law
  • Robert L. Greer, Baird Williams & Greer LLP
  • Maya Milovic, Law Office of Maya Milovic PLC
  • Javier Sobampo, The Sobampo Law Firm PLLC

The volunteer attorneys provided 52 one-on-one consultations during the two-and-a-half-hour phone bank.

Sample consumer questions:

  • Do I qualify for worker’s comp? How do I file for it?
  • What can I do for nonpayment of wages earned?
  • How do I enforce child support?
  • Do I qualify for spousal maintenance?
  • What do I do when a contractor abandons a job?
  • What can I do when a contractor provides defective workmanship?
  • My vehicle’s warranty isn’t being honored; what can I do?
  • Dealer won’t repair my vehicle although it is covered through an extended warranty; what can I do?

Joe Ducey, consumer reporter for ABC15, reported that more than 300 consumers were seen by more than 35 providers.

We thank ABC15 for including the State Bar of Arizona in this invaluable consumer event.

State Bar of Arizona staffer Patricia Seguin, foreground, answers viewer questions regarding about consumer protection, Dec. 12, 2013.

State Bar of Arizona staffer Patricia Seguin, foreground, answers viewer questions regarding about consumer protection, Dec. 12, 2013.

For this Friday before the I-can’t-believe-it’s-already-Christmas-next-week, I had considered writing about last-minute lawyer gifts. You know, pens, software, the hottest new color in Post-It Notes, Helvetica perfume (“the scent of nothing”). But then I realized I should report on a holiday-season generosity offered by some State Bar of Arizona staff.

(And in case you were wondering, the hottest new color in Post-It Notes? Probably orchid.)

I routinely report out on the success of State Bar lawyer call-in shows, where attorneys offer their time and expertise to answer legal questions in specific topic areas.

But last Thursday, December 12, State Bar of Arizona staff took the load off holiday-and-work-stressed attorneys and manned the phones themselves. No legal advice was provided, of course, but volumes of legal information were shared with callers on consumer protection topics. The program is called A Su Lado, or At Your Service. (When lawyers volunteer, its name is Abogados a Su Lado.)

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorThe four staff worked out of the studio of Univision Arizona KTVW 33. The phone bank team was Sulema Bucio, Ayde Gutierrez, Patricia Seguin and Alberto Rodriguez, who worked together to answer 104 calls, in Spanish, during the two-hour phone bank.

Congratulations and thanks to all, and special shout-out to my colleague Alberto Rodriguez, who spearheads these call-in program efforts.

Alberto kindly provided a sample of the questions that were received by the team:

  • Where and how do I report attorney misconduct?
  • Where and how do I report Notario fraud?
  • How can I confirm if the person I’m dealing with is an attorney?
  • I’ve given my attorney several payments but haven’t seen any progress on my case. What can I do?
  • The law firm I hired won’t handle my case anymore—they say the lawyer handling my case no longer works there. What can I do?
  • Can I get my money back and hire a different attorney?
  • Where can I get free or low cost legal advice?

Well done, all!