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Today is Love Your Lawyer Day

 

It is 9:02 on a Wednesday morning and the phone rings.

“I&R, this is Olivia speaking, how can I help you?” The caller introduces herself as Carlene and begins the phone call like most of our clients—upset, confused, and overwhelmed.

“I don’t even know where to start.”

It is a phrase I hear often while working the Information and Referral line. When first entering the legal system, many clients feel like they are trying to steer a boat through the open ocean. Like the ocean, the legal system can be frightening, intimidating, and make many feel a little sick. However, with the right crew, it is possible to navigate the choppy waters and get to their destination.

CWEALF’S I&R line provides clients legal information on issues including family matters, workplace discrimination and equal rights and protections for women and girls in education. Through our service, we help clients navigate their cases by explaining the law in easy to understand terms.

As Carlene explains her situation, it becomes clear she needs a referral from CWEALF’s Cooperating Attorney Network (CWEALF CAN). Our attorney referrals are like a map or compass aiding our clients through their journey. They help get them where they need to go and lead them in the right direction. Around 75% of our clients have an annual income below $25,000 a year and our Cooperating Attorneys assist people who otherwise cannot afford representation. With services such as a free 15-30-minute initial consultation, sliding scale fees, payment plans, or partial representation, our attorneys do their best to help our clients through legal issues.

I go into the CAN database and begin searching for attorneys who specialize in the field of law relating to her situation and who are within her county. Many of our Cooperating Attorneys specialize in fields such as family law, employment, immigration and housing law. Fortunately, we have multiple attorneys with expertise in her issue, and we are able to choose an attorney who is close to where she lives. More specifically, I refer her to an attorney whose name she recognizes because of the good things others have said about them in her community.


Carlene begins to tell me how grateful she is to have these referrals, “This is so helpful.”
Before calling CWEALF’s I&R line, Carlene found it difficult to contact multiple attorneys and organizations that were within her price range. Our program gives callers the opportunity to successfully traverse the waters of their legal situations.

By the end of the phone call, Carlene feels she is steering the boat in the right direction. With the right information and help from our Cooperating Attorneys, she is now able to read the map and make it safely to shore. With CWEALF’s assistance, the legal system seems less intimidating to Carlene and something she feels she can navigate.

 
CWEALF’s Information and Referral line works to guarantee equal access to justice. If you need help navigating your case, call the Information and Referral line at (860) 524-0601, Monday-Thursday 9am-2pm and Friday 9am-1pm.

Learn more about joining CWEALF’s Cooperating Attorney Network (CWEALF CAN) here.

 


By Olivia Doolan, Legal Education Intern at 2 Nov 2018, 10:16 AM

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