Two nonprofit organizations are teaming together to help residents navigate and understand the legal system.
The Southern Nevada Senior Law Program and Nevada Legal Services plan to host monthly law seminars at the West Charleston Library, 6301 W. Charleston Blvd.
“We started doing these seminars every other month last year, and we got such a great response,” said Carmela Reed, a pro bono coordinator for Nevada Legal Services. “This year we will be offering them on a monthly basis.”
Reed said the organizations are scheduled to offer seminars for seniors in odd-numbered months and seminars for the public in even-numbered months.
“For the seniors, we have representatives speaking from the Southern Nevada Senior Law Program,” Reed said. “The organization’s whole demographic is the elderly population, so their topics are more senior-centered.
“For the general public, we will have volunteer attorneys whose practices focus on the topic of the seminar.”
Topics for seniors include health care directives, debt collection, estate planning and identity theft. Public seminar topics include landlord-tenant laws, foreclosures and immigration laws.
“We’ve tried to pick topics that are coming up a lot through our clientele or that we’ve been getting a lot of phone calls on,” Reed said. “We also wanted to capture areas that the different demographics have the most interest in.”
Following the seminar, each participant will have 15 minutes of free legal counseling by a licensed volunteer attorney.
Attorney Sue Martinelli volunteered to give free legal advice at four seminars last year and plans to continue.
“I try to make this a regular part of what I do. I love it,” Martinelli said. “Many of them can’t afford to speak with an attorney or don’t know where to begin. I try to help them get their affairs in order so they can have peace of mind.”
According to Reed, the nonprofits plan to increase the number of outreach programs throughout the valley.
“The legal system is so complex and difficult to navigate, even for attorneys,” Reed said. “It’s important to get information out to folks to bridge the gap and make it more accessible. We want to inform them before problems arise.”
Public seminars are scheduled at the library for Feb. 19, April 17, June 18, Aug. 20, Oct. 15 and Dec. 17. Seminars for seniors are scheduled at the library for March 19, May 21, July 16, Sept. 17 and Nov. 19.
The senior law program offers free services to Clark County residents 60 or older. Nevada Legal Services provides assistance to Nevada residents with low incomes.
For more information or to register for a seminar, call Reed at 702-386-0404, ext. 140, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Southwest/Spring Valley View reporter Caitlyn Belcher at email@example.com or 702-383-0403.