AR Free Legal Answers Helps Record Number of Clients

Volunteer attorneys from around Arkansas have answered over 140 questions from pro bono clients so far this year on AR.freelegalanswers.org. This mid-year performance is the best since the site launched in 2016. If the trend continues, volunteers will set a new full-year record for the most clients helped through the site. The number of volunteers has also increased substantially, with 74 attorneys registered as volunteers on the site, an increase of 26 over this point last year.

AR.freelegalanswers.org is a pro bono portal that allows low to moderate-income Arkansans who are unable to pay for an attorney to post a question and receive an answer from a volunteer attorney. When a client visits the site, they complete a screening to ensure that they are eligible for assistance. Clients who are eligible are then allowed to post a question, along with any relevant documents.

Attorneys who volunteer on the site come from a variety of practice settings, including large firms, solo practices, government agencies, and in-house counsel departments. Law students have also contributed to the site’s success. Both the University of Arkansas School of Law and the William H. Bowen School of Law have hosted clinics where law students assisted clients under the supervision of licensed attorneys. Additional clinics are scheduled for September 27th at the University of Arkansas School of Law and October 25th at the William H. Bowen School of Law.

Volunteers receive monthly emails notifying them of all questions waiting for an answer. Some volunteers choose to receive an immediate notification each time a question is posted in one of their practice areas. When a volunteer is ready to help a client, they are able to view all questions in the queue and choose just the questions they feel comfortable answering. Attorney volunteers are asked only to provide advice. Court appearances are never required of volunteers, as clients agree that the scope of representation is limited to advice.

In order for the site’s success to continue, additional volunteers are needed. Currently, 74% of qualified applicants are able to be matched with a volunteer attorney. In order to serve 100% of qualified applicants, volunteers are needed to answer questions on the following topics: divorce, custody, housing, wills and estates, healthcare, and public benefits. Attorneys interested in volunteering on AR.freelegalanswers.org can get started by completing a brief registration form.

Members of the public seeking legal help should get started by checking their eligibility here. Social workers, court personnel, clergy, or others interested in connecting potentially eligible clients with AR.freelegalanswers.org should contact the site administrator, Jordan Rogers, to request free brochures.

AR.freelegalanswers.org is a collaborative project of the American Bar Association, Arkansas Bar Association, Arkansas Bar Foundation, and Arkansas Access to Justice.

Access to Justice Announces Children’s Story Prize

The Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation today announces a writing contest with a $1000 prize to be awarded to the best entry from an Arkansas high school student, and another to the best entry from an Arkansas adult (age 19 or older). The Hope for Justice Prize will be awarded for original, written works of fiction that illuminate the importance of access to justice in the lives of children. The deadline for submissions is October 1, 2017.

For more information, including complete terms and conditions, click here.

Arkansas Justice Leader Bill Waddell Selected for ABA Pro Bono Publico Award

Capp, McKinney, & Pawlik Appointed to Foundation Board

The Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation is pleased to announce that the following attorneys have joined its board:

Representative Sarah Capp

Rep. Capp, of Ozark, has been appointed to the Foundation Board by the Arkansas Supreme Court. She is in her first term in the Arkansas House of Representatives and represents District 82, which covers portions of Franklin, Madison, and Crawford Counties. Rep. Capp practices law in Ozark, where she is a member of the Chamber of Commerce. She also serves on the Parent Counsel Advisory Committee.

J. Cliff McKinney II

Cliff McKinney, a Little Rock attorney at Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull, was appointed to the Foundation Board by the Arkansas Supreme Court. McKinney’s practice focuses on real estate and regulatory matters. In addition to his practice, he is involved in the Arkansas Bar Association, serving on the Board of Governors and as Chair of the Real Estate Law Section. McKinney also serves as an adjunct professor at the William H. Bowen School of Law and is on the Board of Directors of Habitat of Humanity for Central Arkansas.

Kristin Pawlik

Kristin Pawlik, an attorney practicing with Keith, Miller, Butler, Schneider & Pawlik in Rogers, has been appointed to the Foundation Board by the Arkansas Bar Association. Pawlik’s practice focuses on domestic relations, criminal defense, and family law. She is also an active member of the Arkansas Bar Association, serving on the Board of Governors. Pawlik has previously been honored as a Pro Bono Attorney of the Year.

The Arkansas Access to Foundation would like to express its gratitude to Rep. Capp, Mr. McKinney, and Ms. Pawlik for agreeing to devote their time and talent to reducing the justice gap in Arkansas. The Foundation also thanks its outgoing members, Zina Frazier, Tamara Cochran, and J.D. Gingerich, for their service.

About the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission & Foundation

The Arkansas Access to Justice Commission works to ensure justice for all. That means that all Arkansans get the protections of the law. We research the unmet legal problems of Arkansans, encourage attorneys to do pro bono work for families who are priced out of the legal market, and recommend evidence-based solutions to policymakers.

Our sister nonprofit organization, the Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation, funds the state’s two civil legal aid organizations: The Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas. Together, their lawyers help more than 13,000 Arkansans yearly with knowing and enforcing their rights and by being their voice in court. Through these approaches, we all work together to achieve fairness and make sure nobody with a legal problem is excluded from justice.

Legal Aid Honors Attorneys for Volunteerism

In observance of Law Day, a day designed to celebrate the role of law in our society and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the legal profession, Legal Aid of Arkansas has announced awards for its top volunteers. According to Lee Richardson, Executive Director of Legal Aid of Arkansas: “Attorneys in Arkansas are selfless in their commitment to providing access to justice to those of humble financial means. Pro Bono volunteers allow Legal Aid to serve hundreds of individuals and families annually who would otherwise be standing alone at the Courthouse door.”

The Arkansas Access to Justice Commission joins Legal Aid in thanking these attorneys for living up to their professional duty to serve the impoverished, defenseless, and oppressed. Pro Bono service represents what is best about the legal profession and the Commission encourages all lawyers to follow the example of these honorees by giving back to their community.

2017 Outstanding Pro Bono Service Awards

Equal Access to Justice Panel-Outstanding Attorney

John Blair (Rogers)

Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly-Outstanding Attorney

Steven Davis (Harrison) & Ray Nickle (Jonesboro)

Medical-Legal Partnership-Outstanding Attorney

William Waddell Jr. (Little Rock)

Outstanding Pro Bono Attorneys

First Judicial District: Carter Dooley (Wynne) & Austin Easley (Forrest City)

Second Judicial District: Kevin Cole (Jonesboro), Christopher Jester (Jonesboro), Jeanette Whatley (Marion), Bill E. Bracey (Blytheville), & Jay Scurlock (Paragould)

Third Judicial District: Ed Boyce (Newport), Jim McLarty (Newport) & Joe Grider (Pocahontas)

Fourth Judicial District: Donald Tippett (Fayetteville) & Greg Cuzick (Springdale)

Fourteenth Judicial District: James Wallace (Flippin), Jodi Strother (Mountain Home), & Johnny Nichols (Harrison)

Sixteenth Judicial District: Scott Stalker (Batesville) & Mat Dellinger (Melbourne)

Nineteenth Judicial District: Joshua Meister (Rogers), Hadley Hindmarsh (Rogers), Will Prettyman (Rogers)

Twentieth Judicial District: Jerry Patterson (Marshall) & Donna Price (Clinton)

Over 50 Hours of Pro Bono Service

Ray Nickle (Jonesboro), Donn Mixon (Jonesboro), Jeanette Whatley (Marion), William Waddell Jr. (Little Rock), Harry Light (Little Rock), Jacob Worlow(Fayetteville), & Adam Lentz (Fayetteville)

Over 20 Hours of Pro Bono Service

Joshua Meister (Rogers), Joanne McCracken (Lowell), Mary Schneider (Rogers), Johnny Nichols (Harrison), Steven Davis (Harrison), Chris Flanagin (Eureka Springs), Ariel Snyder (Jonesboro), Roger McNeil (Jonesboro), Kevin Cole (Jonesboro), Christopher Jester (Jonesboro), Kevin Orr (Jonesboro), Megan Henry(Jonesboro), Justin Parkey (Jonesboro), Seth Williams (Jonesboro), Quincy Jaeger (Jonesboro), Lorie Whitby (Paragould), Jay Scurlock (Paragould), Blair Arnold(Batesville), Scott Stalker (Batesville), Bill E. Bracey (Blytheville), Michalene Connealy (Blytheville), Ben Hollowell (North Little Rock), Tory Lewis (Little Rock), Ann Faitz (North Little Rock), Jerry Patterson (Marshall), Donna Price (Clinton), Donald Tippett (Fayetteville), Raymond Smith (Fayetteville), Greg Cuzick (Springdale), Everett DePangher (Fayetteville), Kelly Freeze (Fayetteville), Kimberly Petrone (Fayetteville), Maggie Benson (Fayetteville), J. Timothy Smith (Fayetteville), Scott E. Smith (Fayetteville), George Butler (Fayetteville), D. Westbrook Doss (Fayetteville), Gail Segers (Fayetteville), Bob I. Mayes (Fayetteville), Greg Niblock (Stuttgart), Leigh Ann Yeargan (Fayetteville), Sarah Reyes (Rogers), Geoff Edwards (Fayetteville), Jennifer Quezada (Cave Springs), Tara Smith (Rogers), & Jeff McGinnis (Bentonville)