Tennessee Floods: Updating the Help Options

It’s been two weeks now since the floods came, and the need for help is still strong. I wanted to quickly update the legal community about the resources that are currently available for you to refer people to.

First off, the five community centers closed on Friday as FEMA has stepped in to help. There are centers being set up all over TN, including a few mobile ones. Here is the current list. As of now they have not asked for volunteers in the legal community to join them, but we will know soon if and when that will happen.

Also, the TBA has issued a press release that gives you all the information about about the Hot-line they have set up for victims to call with legal questions. This number is 1-888-395-9297. This number is staffed M-F from 9 am to 5 pm. After that, there is a voice-mail that victims can leave messages in. If you have victims coming to you for help with legal issues resulting from the flood, feel free to redirect them there.

If you’re interested in volunteering to help victims who call in from the Hot-Line or any clinics that might be set up, you can sign up here with TALS or contacting me directly here. We are also going to need people for long term help, and would also love continued help in the community in general for people who need legal help and can’t afford it.

But what about people who need help with basic needs like food and water? Glad you asked! The two major resources to refer victims to are:

United Way: Dial 2-1-1 from any phone.

The United Way is a great referral service for people who need multiple resources, and will direct people to different programs that will suit their individual needs for food, water, etc. Also, anyone who wants to volunteer with helping the victims in a non-legal was can call for information on multiple projects, including Hands on Nashville.

Red Cross: 1-866-438-4636

The Red Cross has set up this Hot-line for victims who are in need of basic needs. By calling the number, a case worker will evaluate the victim’s needs including food, shelter, linens, and even basic furniture.

Also, any victim who needs help with food stamps or cash assistance has a limited time offer from DHS for help. The deadline for reimbursement food stamps and cash assistance is extended until May 28th in the following counties: Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Dyer, Gibson, Haywood, Hickman, Humphreys, Madison, Montgomery, Perry, Shelby, Sumner, and Tipton counties. For further details, see the Press Release.

The Dodson Parker Blog is still up and running and has a plethora of resources that have been announced all over town, so if you’re looking for a specific kind of resource for a victim you might be trying to help out, I highly recommend going there as well.

And finally, thank you EVERYONE who has helped out in the last few weeks. Remember that We Are Nashville and we take care of our own. The efforts this community has shown in helping each other out has made me very proud to call this town home. So thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!

As always,
*~ Alison ~*

Legal Help for Flood Victims

With the historic floods in Nashville, right now their legal problems are the least thing on their mind, even the problems that are a result from the floods themselves.

However, we want to reach out and make sure that people are aware that there is help for them, and I’m going to list what I can here as we become aware of it.

FLOOD INFORMATION CENTERS

These locations are open everyday from 10am to 6pm to provide information for flood victims. Victims can just walk on in if they want some advice on help.

Bellevue Community Center; 656 Colice Jeanne Road, Nashville
Coleman Community Center; 384 Thompson Lane at Nolensville Road, Nashville
Hadley Park Community Center; 1037 28th Avenue North, Nashville
Hermitage Community Center; 3720 James Kay Lane, Hermitage
East Community Center; 700 Woodland Street, Nashville

If you are an attorney who wants to volunteer to staff one of these centers, contact Sarah Hayman at the Tennessee Bar Association to sign up. The first hour you are at the center will involve training so don’t worry if you think you may not know how to help on these specific issues!

Also, while the Legal Aid Society’s clinic today in Williamson Co. is canceled, we will still have our normal legal clinic on Tuesday the 11th for all legal problems. We are also adding a special clinic for Flood Victims on Flood Related Questions ONLY on May 12th at 5pm. They are both at our office on 300 Deaderick Street and are walk in clinics so no appointment necessary.

If you are an attorney who wants to volunteer to help with the flood clinic, please e-mail me (Alison) and I’ll get you on our list. We will have training materials available for all volunteers to be able to refer to.

In addition, some of the younger attorneys over at Dodson, Parker, Behm & Capparella, PC have set up a very helpful blog of legal questions that flood victims should think about and some easy answers to start guiding victims on the right path. Please take a moment to check it out: http://nashvillefloodhelp.blogspot.com/

Finally, please be aware that the United Way is ready and available to help any flood victim who might be in need. They will be up to date on all programs going on to provide assistance, food, and supplies and they are a great resource to pass along to victims looking for non-legal help that come your way. It’s just a single phone call away and they are open 24 hours a day. Just dial 2-1-1 from any phone.

Thank you in advance for any help you are able to offer, and feel free to share, link, retweet, and send out so the word of these centers can spread to the people who need them. E-mail me if you have any questions.

The 1st Quarter Results are in!

So I love to share good news, and today I have a lot of it and it’s all because of you. I’ve finally tallied up all the attorney hours that were reported on case update forms we received from January 1st to April 15th, and here are some great numbers to look at:

Hours Attorneys have volunteered (Jan-Apr 15th – non clinic): 1504.65
Hours volunteered to help at clinics (Jan – March 30th): 230.5
Total hours given in the 1st quarter: 1735.15

Now mind you, this is just what has been reported to us. I know there are more hours out there that we don’t have since on my open case reports I see a lot of 0′s still on some cases. It’s very important that you let us know your hours as you go along so that we can get them reported accurately to the CLE during the year.

Speaking of which, you should see the hours you reported show up sometime in May on your CLE records. Thank you again so much for all the time you’ve given!

Now, even better news! According to the report, I have 136 new attorney names on this list. These are both brand spankin’ new attorneys joining us as well as previous volunteers returning after not taking on a case in 2009. So to those people – you should know who you are – Thank you!

Now here’s a sneak peek at our summer projects I have planned:

Continue reading

Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010!

I think it’s safe to say we’ve had a very successful year. How successful, you ask? Well, let’s play a numbers game and compare 2008 to 2009, shall we?

Cases placed/saw at clinic in 2008: 1083
Cases placed/saw at clinic in 2009: 1668

So that means 585 additional cases were seen last year. That’s nearly a 50% increase!

Want to see attorney volunteer hours and the change there?

Hours reported for CLE credit in 2008: 5120
Hours reported for CLE credit in 2009: 7828

That means at least 2,708 more hours were spent on Pro Bono cases. That’s over a 50% increase in hours from last year, and I know there are more hours that have yet to be reported to us.

So, from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU. We could not have done this without your time and dedication.

Where do we go from here now… well, I want to beat it all in 2010! Call me an overachiever, but I know we can do better. I have over 1500 active volunteers, and if everyone just took ONE case, that would already near our goal without adding a single clinic case into the mix. And there are volunteers out there who take on 2-3 a year, and sometimes in one sitting.

So I’m stating my goals right now for everyone to see, and I am going to need your help on this. Here’s what I’m aiming for in 2010:

Cases placed/seen at clinic: 2000
Active Volunteers: 1700
Attorney CLE Hours Reported: 8000+

Who’s with me?! WE CAN DO THIS!

There are other projects in the works as well to help make 2010 a great year for Pro Bono, and this blog is going to be the place to turn to for the information. So please, subscribe to the feed and comment with suggestions or just to comment and say what you think about the topics we post on. And feel free to share the link with your associates – especially the new ones! – so they can find out how they can help out.

PS – It’s still not too late to get your case hours reported! If you have case update forms sitting on your desk, fill them out and fax/e-mail them to me ASAP and make sure you put down “Report for 2009!” on it so I get the message. Deadline is going to be January 22nd, and after that they might get mixed up with the 2010 hours. Remember it’s 5 billable hours for 1 CLE Ethics credit, with a limit up to 3 per year from us. Just another bonus besides the warm fuzzy feeling you get inside from helping out someone in need.

End of the Year Madness!

Wow, we are already wrapping up the end of the year, which is pretty amazing to think of all our accomplishments now looking back.

Here’s the biggest one: Between clinics and referrals, we have done 1,633 cases so far this year! Now compare that to the 1,082 we had last year and you can see why I’m excited. So thank you all SO much for everything that you’ve done!

However, the year isn’t over yet! Yes, I’m going to ask one last time for this year if you have time in your holiday schedule to take on a last minute case. I’m trying to get all our current clients an attorney for Christmashanakwanza! Right now I have 6 collection/tort type cases, 2 Davidson Co. divorce cases, 10 Williamson Co family law style cases, and an unemployment appeal case. If you have Pro Bono hours you still need to meet at your firm, this is the fastest way to get it!

If you would like more information on any of these cases (and if you’re in Williamson County, imagine me on my knees begging you) please give me a call or e-mail by Wednesday the 23rd. After that and until the New Year, you can still call the office and ask for Lucinda and she’ll find you one.

And finally, if you have NOT gotten your case update forms back to us, there is still time! The fax number is on the bottom of the form. Mark it to my attention and fax it in. This is the only way I know what hours you have done to be able to tell the CLE to get your ethics credits!!!

Happy Holidays to all of you, and wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year! See you again in 2010!

Training and CLE Opportunity – Divorce and Domestic Violence

There is going to be a training on Thursday, December 10th from 1pm to 4pm that will cover how to do a Pro Bono Divorce as well as discussing the topic of domestic violence. You can earn 3 hours towards general CLE credit.

This is a free training, and all we would ask would be for you to be added to our volunteer list for divorce cases in Davidson County.

If you are interested or have any questions, please e-mail me for further information.

Thanks!

CLE Opportunities Reminder

Just wanted to remind everyone that it is not too late to earn some CLE credit! We are still open through the holidays, looking to find attorneys to help out our clients. If you’re down on some CLE, or just want to spread some holiday cheer to the community, please reach out to us!

Also please be aware that we are having a clinic on Saturday, November 28th – the Saturday after Thanksgiving. So far we have invited 20 clients to the clinic, and more will be walking in, and only 4 attorneys have signed up to help out.

If you want to put in some holiday volunteering at the clinic for a few hours Saturday morning, please give Victoria a call or click the link on the left to e-mail her. And yes, you can earn hours for CLE credit at the clinic too!

Thank you!

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