Louisiana Month of Legal Service
This year's October Month of Service and Celebrate Pro Bono Week was a great success due to all of the volunteer attorneys who participated in events throughout the state. To read more about the events, see the latest issue of the Louisiana Bar Journal. The Louisiana State Bar Association thanks all of the volunteers who took the time to support Pro Bono work in Louisiana. please see a list below of the fantastc events that took place this October.
Numerous events were scheduled across the state for the October Month of Legal Service:
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
- 19th JDC Self Help Resource Center. The East Baton Rouge Family Court hosts on ongoing Self-Help Resource Center at the 19th JDC every Tuesday and Thursday.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
- Orleans Parish Self Help Resource Center. The Civil District Court in New Orleans hosts its ongoing SRL efforts conducted by Baker, Donnelson, Entergy, Adams & Reese, and Bruno & Bruno every Monday and Wednesday.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
- Arts and the Law. Attorneys discuss legal issues with local artists and musicians. Topics discussed were Sales Tax, Permits and Licenses. For photos of the event, click here.
Friday, October 11, 2013
- Veterans' Ask a Lawyer Day. The Shreveport Bar Association organized a one-day free legal advice for veterans. For photos of the event, click here.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
- 9th JDC Self-Help Resource Center. The Central LA Pro Bono Project hosted a Self-Help Resource Center at the 9th JDC on the afternoon of the 11th.
Friday, October 18, 2013
- ADR Section School Outreach Program. Members of the ADR Council gave presentations targeted to third and sixth graders at schools in Baton Rouge.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
- “Ask A Lawyer Day”. The Orleans Civil District Court hosted a free walk-in legal clinic on all topics.
- “Ask A Lawyer Day”. The Baton Rouge Bar Foundation Pro Bono Project hosted a free walk-in legal advice clinic on all topics at the Main Library in Baton Rouge the morning of the 19th.
- Hispanic Community Legal Clinic. The Pro Bono Project hosted a free walk-in legal advice clinic on all topics targeted toward the Hispanic community at the Hispanic Resource Center the morning of the 19th.
Several events were scheduled across the state during National Pro Bono Week, Oct. 20-26.
Monday, October 21, 2013
- “Divorce Workshop”. The Pro Bono Project along with volunteer attorneys from the Capital One Legal team will conduct a divorce workshop for clients. Clients will receive help from a volunteer attorney reviewing, signing, attesting to, and notarizing divorce pleadings. 40-50 people will be scheduled at the workshop. For photos of the event, click here.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
- “Senior Clinic”. The Pro Bono Project is hosting a free walk-in legal advice clinic on all topics targeted toward the elderly at the Metairie Senior Center the morning of the 21st.
- Financial Literacy Seminar. Baton Rouge volunteer attorneys presented information on reverse mortgages, debtors' rights and debtor issues pertinent to senior citizens at the Delmont Service Center in Baton Rouge.
Statewide Day of Service
Thursday, October 24, 2013
- "Thirst for Justice". The Baton Rouge Bar Association organized a free walk-in legal advice clinic held at St. Vincent de Paul in Baton Rouge the afternoon of the 23rd covering all topics.
- Wills and Power of Attorney Clinic. The Central Louisiana Pro Bono Project hosted a free Wills and Power of Attorney Clinic at the Rapides Parish Main Library. Attorneys were available to prepare wills, both living and simple, and Power of Attorneys, both durable and healthcare.
- Free Legal Clinic. The Jefferson Bar Association held a free legal clinic for unrepresented persons of Jefferson Parish. For photos, click here.
- “Wills for Heroes”. The LA Young Lawyers Section, with the Shreveport Bar Association, participated in a Wills for Heroes event at the Shreveport Bar Center. For photos of the event, click here.
- "Thirst for Justice". The Baton Rouge Bar Association organized a free walk-in legal advice clinic held at St. Vincent de Paul in Baton Rouge covering all topics.
Friday, October 25, 2013
- 4th JDC Young Lawyers Pro Bono Helpdesk. The Young Lawyers Section of the Fourth Judicial District Bar Association participated in this statewide volunteer effort by hosting a free “Ask-a-Lawyer” helpdesk on Thursday, October 24, 2013, at the Ouachita Parish Courthouse, Courtroom #3, with the assistance from a representative of Legal Services of North Louisiana, Inc. The helpdesk aided the public by providing assistance to unrepresented litigants, or potential litigants who are considering representing themselves in Domestic/Family Law matters. For photos of the event, click here.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
- “Ask a Lawyer Day”. The Northshore Pro Bono Project of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services and the Washington Parish Bar Association hosted an "Ask-A-Lawyer" event free-of-charge. For photos of the event, click here.
- Consumer Clinic. The Pro Bono Project hosted a free walk-in legal advice clinic on consumer topics at St. Peter Claver Church the afternoon of the 26th.
Jefferson Parish Bar Association
Thank You to All of the Month of Service Volunteers:
Paul D. Johnston
John F. Young
New Orleans CDC
New Orleans Pro Bono Project
Northshore Pro Bono Project
Shreveport Bar Association
Meagan Lynn Miller
Sarah Margaret Smith
Slidell Bar Association
Louisiana Month of Legal Service
LSBA President Richard K. Leefe has designated October as Louisiana’s “Month of Legal Service” for LSBA members. The month of service coincides with, and will culminate in, the National Celebrate Pro Bono Week, Oct. 20-26. The goal of the “Month of Legal Service” is for attorneys to help make a difference in their communities by providing assistance to benefit those most in need. Local bars and legal organizations are encouraged to give their time and experience by providing legal advice or help to unrepresented individuals at local courts.
Addressing challenges created by the increasing number of self-represented litigants (SRLs) in our courts is a significant issue which continues to receive a great deal of attention from the Louisiana Supreme Court, District judges, legal aid organizations and the LSBA. With this diversity of stakeholders channeling energy to this effort, the results have been mutually beneficial to litigants, court staff and the legal community.
Court-based help desks provide a unique and meaningful opportunity for us to bridge the gap between courts and the public. Across the state, jurisdictions are partnering with the LSBA and local bar associations to provide services to litigants, or potential litigants, that include self-help programs, legal advice, legal information, referrals to local attorneys and relevant agencies, and the provision of other resources. These programs provide significant assistance to individuals who would otherwise not have access to an attorney sometimes by helping them move their case forward, but also helping to clarify when no actionable issue exists, or conversely, when then that individual’s issue almost certainly necessitates an attorney.
Regularly staffed help desks exist in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport. Recognizing the significant impact the desks have had in these locations, President Leefe is asking that local bars and other legal organizations work with the judges in their local courts to establish a help-desk or ask-a-lawyer event during October – Louisiana’s Month of Legal Service.
In order to assist you in coordinating a help desk/ask-a-lawyer event, the LSBA’s Access to Justice staff has prepared several documents which you may assist you. Additionally, SRL Counsel, Michael Schachtman and ATJ Assistant Katie Mozier are also available to provide personal assistance.
We hope you will join your colleagues in working with local courts to provide assistance to those who are in need of your legal services.
NATIONAL PRO BONO CELEBRATION WEEK
Each year, the nation celebrates pro bono with a program designed to highlight and promote access to justice through pro bono work during the last full week of October. The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service launched this initiative in response to the increasing need for pro bono services during the current economic climate. The national platform gives an opportunity for local pro bono programs and attorneys to promote their work. As in years past, the LSBA will work with local pro bono organizations to promote their events during Celebrate Pro Bono week.
This year President Leefe would like to coordinate the LSBA’s month of service in conjunction with national Celebrate Pro Bono Week, October 20-26, 2013. Click here to go to the Celebrate Pro Bono webpage.
ASK-A-LAWYER/HELP DESK RESOURCES
The court-based help desks are a valuable asset to not only low-income litigants, but also the Bar and courts around the state. These services facilitate more efficient dockets and courtroom experiences for all involved, and also relieve court staff of the precarious situation of helping people without providing legal advice or violating applicable rules of conduct. Individuals who visit the desks report a much greater and realistic understanding of their case, and also a more positive view of the court and legal system.
Attorneys who participate in these programs almost always find them to be a tremendous pro-bono opportunity. Volunteering generally requires a minimal time investment, does not carry the responsibilities of representation, and facilitates assistance to some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. Given the minimal time and resource investments necessary to provide a help desk/ask-a-lawyer event, the Bar has highlighted this opportunity to judicial districts around the state.
While those established help desks provide a variety of services, including court-approved forms, this may be much more involved than is possible at your one day event. The event you conduct can be as involved as you choose. We hope you will join in this effort and utilize the attached resources:
- See Rule 6.1 of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct (Voluntary Pro Bono Public Service)
- Administrative documents:
- Sign-in Sheet Template
- Participant Verification Template
- Ask-a-Lawyer Day Flyer Template
- Press Release Template
- Volunteer attorneys may find the desk manual from Loyola University Law School helpful while volunteering at the courts. Click here for an online copy of the desk manual.
- Information to use at the help desk:
- Contact information for public interest/legal aid resources: www.lawhelp.org