Jun 06, 2022
Lawyers in the Library Needs (Virtual) Lawyers in the Library
Jun 06, 2022
By Lawrence S. Strick
LAWYERS IN THE LIBRARY is a collaborative program between the Marin County Bar Association and the Marin County Law Library. The program offers free 20-minute consultations each second and fourth Thursday (except November and December) from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The program helps fill the enormous need for providing legal information to the growing low income and senior Marin population. Since its inception, Lawyers in the Library has served well over a thousand people, and the demand for its services is constantly increasing. The program urgently needs to expand its volunteer lawyer base—Lawyers in the Library Needs You!
As a Lawyers in the Library volunteer, I have experienced the wonderful feeling of providing help to those who are struggling to navigate an issue. The problems the participants present often can be addressed by listening and pointing out a resource that they did not know existed. Those seeking legal help simply need to be heard and guided by a professional. People are genuinely thankful for your attention and your time, of which only a little is required.
I encourage you to volunteer and experience Lawyers in the Library, which you can easily do using the link at the end of this article. It is a great program and will make you feel good about being a lawyer. Below are some of the most common questions I am asked about volunteering. If you have additional questions, please reach out to Lawyers in the Library at (415) 472-3733, or feel free to call me directly at (415) 721-1200.
HOW MUCH TIME MUST I COMMIT?
Each virtual session is two hours on a Thursday evening. You can log onto Zoom at 4:15 p.m., get your assignments, help a few people, and enjoy dinner on time.
WHAT IF THE QUESTIONS ARE OUTSIDE MY AREA OF EXPERTISE?
Don’t worry about that! Lawyers in the Library asks for volunteers in the following areas of law: Family, Landlord Tenant, General Civil, Employment, Estate Planning/Probate and Personal Injury. The library staff will assign you matters with your specific area of expertise in mind. Moreover, you will be provided with a list of resources for followup assistance. You can only do so much in one 20-minute session.
DO I HAVE A FOLLOW UP COMMITMENT?
No. As a volunteer attorney, you give guidance and information only. Participants sign a document acknowledging that no continuing attorney-client relationship is being created. If you want to assist a participant outside of Lawyers in the Library, both you and the participant must sign a release before that can occur. Volunteer attorneys are strongly discouraged from doing so.
HOW ABOUT LEGAL MALPRACTICE INSURANCE?
As a practical matter, the type of high-level advice being offered does not lend itself to claims—and we have never had a claim from the grateful community we assist—but Lawyers in the Library covers all volunteer attorneys under its own policy.
Lawrence Strick has been a trial lawyer for 41 years, specializing in helping people obtain compensation for their injuries and for survivors of individuals killed by the wrongful acts of others.