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.”