HOT TOPIC: Law Day
The Bar Association's annual Law Day Contests for second through twelfth graders is now open! Deadline for entries has been extended to noon on April 29. Contest Brochure HERE. Open to any and all students in Washington County. Public Celebration: 6pm, Monday, May 19, Washington County Courthouse. This year's topic is "American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters."
LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICES
Call the Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) at 724.225.6710 to schedule a half-hour consultation with a licensed, insured attorney who has experience in the area of law related to your legal matter. Currently, the initial half-hour consultation with the attorney is $30, and is payable to WCBA prior to the consultation. Any fees beyond the first half-hour should be discussed and agreed upon by you and the lawyer.
Our LRS Brochure includes information about how to find a lawyer, how lawyers set fees, who is qualified to give legal advice, and other resources that may be able to assist you.
If you meet federal income guidelines to qualify for free legal assistance, call SW PA Legal Services at 724.225.6170 or its hotline at 1.888.855.3873. For information about statewide free legal assistance programs, check online at www.palegalservices.org or www.PaLawHelp.org.
A "Modest Means" Program was started in 2009 to assist people who do not qualify for legal aid and who do not have -- or perhaps perceive that they do not have -- the financial resources to hire an attorney. This program offers clients an opportunity to access attorneys who have agreed to accept referrals on a reduced-fee basis in specified areas of law. To find out if you are eligible and, if so, to be referred to the program, contact Southwestern PA Legal Services at 724.225.6170. A "Limited Representation Custody" Program provides an attorney at no-cost to income-eligible and program-eligible clients for assistance in custody proceedings up through the first pre-custody conciliation meeting. To find out if you are eligible, and, if so, to be referred to the program, contact SW PA Legal Services at 724-225-6170.
FEE DISPUTE COMMITTEE -- the Bar Association has a Fee Dispute Committee to assist clients and attorneys with fee disputes. The Committee guidelines and procedures are HERE.
DISCIPLINARY BOARD PROCEDURES -- In Pennsylvania, local Bar Associations do not handle disciplinary matters. The disciplinary system is created and governed by the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement, a broad set of rules by which the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania carries out its constitutional authority to regulate the practice of law. The disciplinary system can often be complex and overwhelming; therefore, the Disciplinary board website has information regarding disciplinary proceedings, fees, reporting forms and general questions about the system. The website also lists current contact and professional liability insurance information for all attorneys licensed in the state. Visit www.padisciplinaryboard.org to learn more.
PA FUND FOR CLIENT SECURITY -- The Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security was established by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1982 to reimburse clients who have suffered a loss as a result of a misappropriation of funds by their Pennsylvania attorney. For forms and information, visit www.palawfund.com.
PUBLIC EDUCATION PROGRAMS
To schedule a law-related Courthouse Tour, or to schedule a speaker for Law Day, a Stepping Out Program, or other public education program, use the Request Form in our “Learn about the Law” brochure.
LAW DAY -- Our program won one of five national 2004 Outstanding Law Day Activity Awards from the American Bar Association! During the weeks surrounding Law Day, nationally observed on May 1st, WCBA sponsors contests for Washington County students in grades 2-12 and sends speakers into the schools to discuss Law Day related topics. A public Law Day celebration is held, during which time we present the Liberty Bell Award to a non-lawyer for outstanding service in encouraging respect for law and the courts.
PEOPLE’S LAW SCHOOL -- Next Series: Fall 2013. Our "People's Law School" program provides interested citizens with general legal information. Seminars on topics such as The Courts, Wills and Estates, Landlord-Tenant, Real Estate, Criminal, Civil and other types of law are presented by panels of attorneys, judges and other legal professionals. We also periodically present “law schools” for business leaders and for leaders of non-profit organizations.
SPEAKERS’ BUREAU / COURTHOUSE TOURS
Do you need a lawyer to do a presentation for a school group or organization? Our active Speakers' Bureau is called upon more than 40 times per year to deliver presentations on almost any law-related topic. Our members are also available to provide law-related tours of the Washington County Courthouse.
"TURNING 18: LEGAL ISSUES IN THE REAL WORLD"
This program, formally titled "Stepping Out," is designed to help high school seniors understand their adult rights and responsibilities. In addition to an attorney presenting the information and answering questions, a booklet is also distributed to each student. Sample Booklet distributed to students.
PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGNS
WCBA also provides panel presentations for state and national sponsored public-education programs such as the PBA’s "Why A Will Can't Wait" and the ABA’s "Health Care Decisions Week."
CLASSIC LAW FILM SERIES
A film festival free and open to the public designed to educate the public about "the law" and the positive role of lawyers in society. Local attorneys and/or judges introduce each film, highlighting their own personal experiences and relevant points of law in the film.