On Nov. 21, 2014, volunteer attorneys answered almost 400 calls from Arizona consumers regarding immigration and the November 20 presidential executive order on the topic.

On Nov. 21, 2014, volunteer attorneys answered almost 400 calls from Arizona consumers regarding immigration and the November 20 presidential executive order on the topic.

Talk about timely: One day after historic action was taken by President Barack Obama on the topic of immigration, the State Bar of Arizona fielded a call-in program to address the inevitable questions that would arise.

As Alberto Rodriguez reports:

The State Bar of Arizona and Univision 33 hosted a special edition of Abogados a Su Lado (attorneys on your side) public service program on Friday, November 21. In response to the executive order issued by President Obama on Thursday, November 20, both the Bar and Univision organized a phone bank that would help clarify consumers’ questions regarding immigration law, as well as inform them of the initial details regarding the President’s executive order. The following is a recap of the program.

Nine attorneys volunteered their time and knowledge from 5:00 pm until 10:30 pm:

  • Emilia Banuelos, Banuelos Law Office
  • Tony Colon, Colon & Associates
  • Seth B. Draper, Salvatierra Law Group
  • Mark Egan, Gunderson Denton & Peterson
  • Magaly Fontes, Law Office of Magaly Fontes
  • Bruno Gitnacht, Law Office of Bruno Gitnacht
  • Ray Ybarra Maldonado, Law Office of Ray Ybarra Maldonado
  • Christina Ortecho, Ortecho Law
  • Matthew Thomas, Thomas Law Firm

The attorneys answered an astounding 385 calls regarding the President’s executive order and immigration law. This special edition phone bank was extended and offered during a five-and-a-half-hour time period.

Sample consumer questions:

  • When will the details be released? When and how do I apply for deferred action?
  • What are the specific details regarding the tax returns?
  • Does this cancel removal/voluntary departure procedures?
  • I got a DUI in the past, does this count as criminal activity?
  • How do I prepare? What documents do I need to provide?
  • I am already in the process of applying for citizenship, does this affect me?

All volunteers were satisfied with the quality of the questions overall and were excited to have participated in this special edition of Abogados a Su Lado public service program.

We thank Univision 33 for their continued partnership in providing this valuable “Access to Justice” program for the Spanish-speaking community.

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State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorIf the mark of a great blog post is a gorgeous graphic, I’m starting off the week with an epic fail.

But gauging posts by their relevance and praiseworthy content, this kind of offering is among my favorites.

Once again via my colleague Alberto Rodriguez, I pass on the great news of Arizona attorneys who stepped up to offer free legal advice. (As I’ve said before, no other profession that I’m aware of does so on such a routine basis.)

On Thursday, September 26, the State Bar of Arizona joined with Univision 33 to host the consumer call-in program Abogados a Su Lado. This most recent public service program covered bankruptcy and foreclosure issues.

Congratulations to the lawyers who stepped up to participate:

Those generous lawyers—all four were first-time participants—answered 67 calls during the two-hour phone bank. The following is a sample of the questions received:

  • Do I qualify for bankruptcy?
  • How does bankruptcy work?
  • Do I need an attorney to handle my bankruptcy or can I file on my own?
  • I’m behind on my house payment, how long before the foreclosure process begins? Can I save my home from foreclosure?
  • Am I automatically entitled to half of our assets if I file for divorce?
  • How do I qualify for a home loan modification?
  • The home I rent is being foreclosed on. What are my rights?

Congratulations and thanks to all the attorneys.

State Bar employees Mirna Lerma, Ayde Gutierrez, Sulema Bucio and Mabel Ramirez at the TV studio for A Su Lado.

State Bar employees Mirna Lerma, Ayde Gutierrez, Sulema Bucio and Mabel Ramirez at the TV studio for A Su Lado.

I regularly share updates from my State Bar of Arizona colleague Alberto Rodriguez, especially as they relate to the Lawyers on Call program. That is a call-in program through which thousands of Arizonans have had their legal questions answered.

Mabel Ramirez interviewed during A Su Lado.

Mabel Ramirez interviewed during A Su Lado.

Last week, the Bar offered a twist on the lawyer call-in approach. Instead, on April 24 a team of terrific Bar employees answered questions that they are adept at answering. Congratulations and thanks to the four wonderful women who responded to the calls. Here is Alberto’s description:

The State Bar of Arizona and Univision 33 hosted a special edition of A Su Lado (On Your Side) on Wednesday, April 24. Univision 33 kicked-off their sweeps period with a special consumer protection phone bank and news story that featured the State Bar of Arizona and members of the Resource Center team. Resource Center Supervisor Mabel Ramirez was interviewed during the 5 p.m. newscast and offered helpful tips to help guide viewers in finding a lawyer, verifying lawyer membership, and filing a Bar/UPIL complaint.

The following is a recap from the public service program:

Date: April 24, 2013

Topic: State Bar of Arizona’s Consumer Protection Services and the Law Day Legal Aid Clinic

Univision 33 logoPhone Bank Team: Sulema Bucio, Ayde Gutierrez, Mirna Lerma and Mabel Ramirez

Summary: The RC team answered an impressive 85 calls during the two-hour phone bank focused on the Bar’s consumer protection services. The following is a small sample of the questions that were received:

  • Does the Bar offer free legal advice or referrals?
  • How can I file a complaint against an attorney?
  • Can you verify if the attorney I’m working with is an actual attorney?
  • Can you tell me more about the Law Day Legal Aid Clinics?
  • Several callers were asking for legal advice and were referred to the Law Day Legal Aid Clinics.

The Resource Center team members were first-time participants. They were satisfied with the quality of the questions overall and were excited to have participated in the A Su Lado public service program. Calls were consistent from 5 to 7 p.m., which led to another successful phone bank.

State Bar Resource Center staff take callers' questions during A Su Lado.

State Bar Resource Center staff take callers’ questions during A Su Lado.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorThis morning, an update from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez at the State Bar of Arizona:

The State Bar of Arizona and Univision 33 hosted the final Abogados a Su Lado (“Lawyers at Your Side”) of 2012 on Monday, December 10. The following is a recap from the public service program.

Summary: Volunteer attorneys answered 93 calls during the two-hour phone bank focused on criminal charges/issues. The following is a small sample of the questions that were received:

  • Can I get my license reinstated after receiving a DUI?
  • How does receiving a misdemeanor charge affect my immigration case/status?
  • How is a potential sentence determined?
  • Should I hire a private attorney or use a public defender? What are the differences?
  • What are the repercussions of getting a DUI?
  • How do I take care of a warrant issued in another state?Univision 33 logo

All the Abogados a Su Lado volunteers were first-time participants. Calls were consistent from 5 to 7 p.m., which led to another successful phone bank.

In 2012, 20 Abogados a Su Lado volunteer attorneys answered legal questions from 284 consumers during three separate phone banks.

The State Bar of Arizona and Univision 33 will continue to provide the Abogados a Su Lado public service program in 2013 and are currently identifying dates and topics for the new year.

As I’ve talked about before, the gap between legal services and those who need them has never been wider. Fortunately, many, many lawyers do more than gaze into that chasm; they opt to offer their time and expertise on a free or reduced-cost basis.

October traditionally includes what the profession calls “Pro Bono Week,” a time to focus on the legal needs of many people. But lawyers give throughout the year, as we saw at an event last week.

The following news comes from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez at the State Bar of Arizona.

The State Bar and Univision 33 hosted Abogados a Su Lado (“Lawyers at Your Side”) on Thursday, August 23. The evening’s topic was personal-injury issues.

There were seven volunteer attorneys participating in the public service program (for this blog post, I’ve provided links where I could locate them): John Alston, Jess Gulbrandsen, Ridge Hicks, Jose M. Leon, Carlos Slack-Mendez, Patricio Smith and Julio Zapata.

The lawyers fielded 76 calls during the two-hour phone bank. The following is a small sample of the questions that were received:

  • How long do I have to file a claim after a collision?
  • How long does it take to resolve a claim after it has been filed?
  • Can I change attorneys if I am not satisfied with my current attorney?
  • Can I file an injury claim if the vehicle does not exhibit major damage?
  • Can I file a claim if I don’t have a driver’s license?

All seven of the Abogados a Su Lado volunteers were first-time participants. They were satisfied with the quality of the questions overall and were excited to have participated in the Abogados a Su Lado public service program. Calls were consistent from 5 to 7 p.m., which led to a successful phone bank.

Congratulations and thanks to all the participating lawyers.

Some timely news from the State Bar of Arizona:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 1, 2011

Contact: Rick DeBruhl, Chief Communications Officer

Phone: (602) 340-7335, Mobile: (602) 513-6385

E-Mail: rick.debruhl@staff.azbar.org

State Bar of Arizona Unveils Partnership with Univision 33 to Offer Free Legal Advice to Spanish Speaking Community

PHOENIX – Dec. 1, 2011 – The State Bar of Arizona today announced that it will provide Spanish speaking consumers with free legal advice during a two-hour phone bank on Dec. 1, 2011 through its new partnership with KTVW Univision 33.

Bilingual attorney volunteers will provide Spanish speaking viewers with divorce and child support advice from 5 to 7 p.m. on Univision’s 33 A Su Lado public service program.

This new partnership with Univision 33 will allow the State Bar to connect with the Spanish speaking community in Arizona and provide them with the same consumer services it currently offers to the community at large.

About the State Bar

The State Bar of Arizona is a non-profit organization that operates under the supervision of the Arizona Supreme Court. The Bar includes approximately 16,775 active attorneys and provides education and development programs for the legal profession and the public. Since 1933 the Bar and its members have been committed to serving the public by making sure the voices of all people in Arizona are heard in our justice system.