Lawyer’s vision for free legal clinic is realized, starts soon
A local lawyer with a goal of creating place for people who need nothing more than an answer to a simple legal question will conduct the first clinic Wednesday.
The first Carson City Free Legal Clinic will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Friends In Service Helping (FISH), 138 E. Long St.
“The support from the legal community has been impressive,” said organizer Ed Bernard. “I’ve had more volunteer lawyers than I need for the first few meetings of the clinic. We also have two volunteer interpreters.”
The clinic is open to the public. Each person or family that sign ups will be given 20-30 minutes of time.
“We have four lawyers and two interpreters ready to go,” Bernard said.
Bernard, who has been in private practice for more than 30 years, participated in a similar free legal clinic model in South Lake Tahoe about 25 years ago, where people could come in for a 20-minute consultation with a lawyer.
“We were amazed to find out that people were asking questions like, ‘Can I go to jail for not paying a utility bill?’ We were scratching our heads that these kinds of questions were even out there,” he said.
“And we found out that people were so appreciative. Most people have no access to a lawyer. I remember thinking at the time that someday I wanted to do this myself, and now that I’ve been successful and had some high-profile cases, I thought this would be a good time,” he said.
It’s an opportunity for people to come in and get their simple legal questions answered.
There are limits to what’s offered. There is no attorney-client confidentiality privilege, no copying of documents, and no referrals to the lawyer’s private practice if more help should be needed, Bernard said. For more information, contact Bernard at email@example.com or 775-885-1600.