STOCKTON, CA- San Joaquin County residents now have a place to answer their legal questions and get free legal advice.
The San Joaquin County Bar Association hosted the first Lawyers in the Library Legal Clinic on Wednesday, August 29 at the Law Library, located at 20 N. Sutter Street in Downtown Stockton.
Lawyers in the Library is a monthly legal clinic consisting of licensed, practicing attorneys who volunteer their time in order to assess and advise an individual’s legal matter.
“This is the first time we ever done it in fifteen years,” said Rebekah Burr-Siegel, Executive Director of the San Joaquin County Bar Association. “We have such a need in the community for some type of low income or a pro bono attorney program and we don’t have one.”
While the CRLA, the California Rural Legal Assistance, provides legal assistance to low income families, there is a lot of people outside of that categorization that need help, explains Burr-Siegel, “we hope that this will lead to a formal pro bono program.”
The Participating Attorneys are: Stephanie Felizer practicing family law, Alissa Harris, practicing bankruptcy law and issues relating to foreclosures and short sales, Alicia Hernandez, practicing banking and finance, business and commercial and public agency law, Elizabeth Hull practicing in estate planning, and unlawful detainer and Moses Zapien practicing civil litigation, contract and business law.
The services of a lawyer can be expensive, says Manteca resident Jose Corona, as he waited for his turn, sometimes when you go for a consultation, the attorney wants to charge before you even speak with them. For Corona a free consultation will guide him to the next step of finding the right lawyer for his specific needs.
“Often times is just to see if they have a case and if they do who should they talk to about it, sometimes people do not even know what area of law is in,” added Burr-Siegel.
The purpose of the first legal clinic is to identify what the majority of the local needs are. The next Lawyers in the Library event is scheduled for September 26, the San Joaquin County Bar Association hopes to expand the services to Lodi and Tracy residents as well.