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Social media push boosts calls to Evansville’s legal advice service

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The Evansville legal community, worried that its monthly talk-to-a-lawyer program was losing popularity, turned to the place where it seems everyone gathers – cyberspace.

Calls coming to talk-to-a-lawyer had dropped to an average of 35 to 50 per month, according to Scott Wylie, president of the Evansville Bar Association. Also, the questions many of the callers asked had been shifting from the family law and landlord-tenant issues to estate planning and probate. Many attorneys wondered what was happening when they realized the program’s advertising was limited largely to newspapers which often attract an older demographic.

To engage younger people, the legal community began touting the free advice program on Facebook. The Evansville Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee wrote a blurb, giving the time and phone number of the talk-to-a-lawyer event and invited callers. Then members of the bar association, the Evansville Bar Foundation and the Pro Bono District posted the blurb on their Facebook pages.

In addition, the access committee also created a Facebook page, “Free Legal Advice Evansville.”

So far, the social media push has been successful. March 6 at the EBA offices in Evansville, the phones rang almost non-stop and call volume increased to almost 70 during the two-and-a-half-hour event. Wylie believes the message on Facebook not only alerted the public to the call-in program but also enabled attorneys to direct people, who they could not assist, to legal help.  

The boost that appears to have come through social media, said Wylie, “has allowed us to remember that it’s important for us to reach all members of the general public. It’s more about being thoughtful and making sure legal help is available to everyone.”


 
 

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  1. Access to the court (judiciary branch of government) is the REAL problem, NOT necessarily lack of access to an attorney. Unfortunately, I've lived in a legal and financial hell for the past six years due to a divorce (where I was, supposedly, represented by an attorney) in which I was defrauded of settlement and the other party (and helpers) enriched through the fraud. When I attempted to introduce evidence and testify (pro se) in a foreclosure/eviction, I was silenced (apparently on procedural grounds, as research I've done since indicates). I was thrown out of a residence which was to be sold, by a judge who refused to allow me to speak in (the supposedly "informal") small claims court where the eviction proceeding (by ex-brother-in-law) was held. Six years and I can't even get back on solid or stable ground ... having bank account seized twice, unlawfully ... and now, for the past year, being dragged into court - again, contrary to law and appellate decisions - by former attorney, who is trying to force payment from exempt funds. Friday will mark fifth appearance. Hopefully, I'll be allowed to speak. The situation I find myself in shouldn't even be possible, much less dragging out with no end in sight, for years. I've done nothing wrong, but am watching a lot of wrong being accomplished under court jurisdiction; only because I was married to someone who wanted and was granted a divorce (but was not willing to assume the responsibilities that come with granting the divorce). In fact, the recalcitrant party was enriched by well over $100k, although it was necessarily split with other actors. Pro bono help? It's a nice dream ... but that's all it is, for too many. Meanwhile, injustice marches on.

  2. Both sites mentioned in the article appear to be nonfunctional to date (March 28, 2017). http://indianalegalanswers.org/ returns a message stating the "server is taking too long to respond" and http://www.abafreelegalasnswers.org/ "can't find the server". Although this does not surprise me, it is disheartening to know that access to the judicial branch of government remains out of reach for too many citizens (for procedural rather than meritorious reasons) of Indiana. Any updates regarding this story?

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