Healthcare Worker Legal Assistance Clinic

As COVID-19 continues to impact Arkansas, healthcare workers like you are undertaking heroic efforts to contain the disease. As lawyers, we cannot directly assist in the fight against COVID-19. However, we may be able to help offer peace of mind by ensuring you have basic health and financial planning documents.

The Pulaski County Bar Association, the Center for Arkansas Legal Services, and Arkansas Access to Justice are partnering to offer free planning document preparation to certain healthcare workers in Central Arkansas. The legal assistance we are offering is limited to addressing issues you might face if you fall seriously ill. Eligible healthcare workers will be paired with a volunteer attorney to help them address such issues as: “If I get ill, who can I legally authorize to care for my child?”; or “If I become incapacitated, can I designate someone to make financial decisions for me?” Attorneys will prepare up to four types of documents for eligible healthcare workers, including a durable power of attorney, a durable power of attorney for healthcare, a power of attorney for minor, and a living will. However, our volunteers will not prepare wills or trusts, nor will they address other legal needs you may have.

Consistent with current social distancing protocols, no in-person consultations will be necessary; they will be handled remotely. If you are a frontline healthcare worker who may need legal assistance with the documents described above, please review the FAQs below. Then, click the “Get Help” button to apply for help. If you have questions, please see the FAQs below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for this clinic?

This clinic is open to healthcare workers in Central Arkansas, including residents, nurses, CNAs, phlebotomy technicians, lab technicians, respiratory therapists, custodians, EMTs, paramedics, etc. Administrative staff who work at hospitals, nursing homes, or other healthcare providers are also eligible.

Not sure if you qualify? Most healthcare workers in Central Arkansas will be eligible. Go ahead and click the “Get Help” button. When you register we’ll ask you for your job description. We’ll get back to you to let you know if you’re eligible.

Which documents will the volunteer attorney prepare for me?

Our volunteer attorneys will prepare the following documents for you, if appropriate for your situation:

  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
  • Living Will
  • Power of Attorney for Minor

When and where will I meet with my attorney?

To maintain social distancing measures, your consultations will be completely virtual. After you register by clicking “Get Help” above, we will attempt to match you with a volunteer attorney. When you are matched, you will be notified and provided contact information for the volunteer attorney and they will be provided your contact information. The volunteer attorney will work with you to set up a phone call or video conference to discuss your case.

How long will it take for me to be matched with a volunteer attorney?

At this time, we are able to match clients with an attorney in 2 to 3 days. If we receive a large number of applicants, it may take a little longer. You will be notified by email, text, or call if you are matched with a volunteer attorney.

What does a durable power of attorney do?

A durable power of attorney allows someone else to make decisions about your finances for you.  You can decide whether you wish to have someone make financial decisions for you as soon as you complete the durable power of attorney or only at times when you can’t make decisions on your own.

The person you name should have these qualities:

  • You trust the person;
  • They are responsible with money;
  • They are somewhat familiar with your financial situation.

It is generally a bad idea to name more than one person to make financial decisions for you. However, you can name alternates if the first person you choose isn’t available.

What does a durable power of attorney for healthcare do?

A durable power of attorney for healthcare allows someone else to make decisions about your medical care when you can’t communicate with your healthcare provider or you lack the mental capacity to make healthcare decisions. The person or persons you select to make decisions for you will immediately have access to your medical records, unless you say otherwise in the document.

The person you name to make healthcare decisions for you should have the following qualities:

  • You trust them;
  • They can be available during a medical emergency;
  • They understand your personal values regarding health decisions; and
  • They are familiar with your medical history.

It is generally a bad idea to name more than one person to make medical decisions for you. However, you can name alternates if the first person you choose isn’t available.

What does a living will do?

A living will tells your healthcare provider whether or not to provide certain medical treatments if you are in a permanent coma or you have a terminal illness. You can also name a person to make decisions about these situations for you. It is generally a good idea for the agent you name in a living will to be the same as the agent you name in a durable power of attorney for healthcare.

The person you name to make end-of-life decisions for you should have the following qualities:

  • You trust them;
  • They can be available during a medical emergency;
  • They understand your personal values regarding end-of-life decisions; and
  • They are generally familiar with your medical history.

It is generally a bad idea to name more than one person to make end of life decisions for you. However, you can name alternates if the first person you choose isn’t available.

What does a power of attorney for minor do?

A power of attorney for minor essentially allows someone else to take over parenting responsibilities for you if you can’t care for your child because of illness or another reason. This document cannot change the rights of another parent. If you share physical or legal custody of a child with another parent, ask the volunteer attorney who helps you to explain more about this document and the limits of what it can do.

What if I also need a will or trust?

Our volunteers will not prepare wills or trusts as part of this clinic. While it is important for everyone to have a will or a trust, these documents are beyond the scope of this clinic.

What about notarization?

The volunteer attorney you match with will work with you to get your documents notarized. If your healthcare facility has a notary on staff, you might want to take the documents there for notarization, if that can be done safely. If you do not have safe access to a notary, the volunteer attorney will work with you to get the documents notarized remotely. Emergency authorization from the governor allows notaries who work for attorneys to notarize documents if you video conference with them during the document signing.

Who should I contact if I have questions?

If you have questions about this event, please contact Jordan Bates-Rogers by using the contact us form.

What information will I be asked for?

During the registration process, we will ask you for contact information and for some details about your job to make sure you qualify for this clinic. If you are matched with a volunteer attorney, they will ask you for additional information needed to draft the documents described above. You can help make the process move faster by gathering the name, address, and phone number of anyone you want to name as an agent in any of the documents. If you have ever had a durable power of attorney, durable power of attorney for healthcare, living will, or power of attorney for minor, collect those to show the volunteer attorney.

I am an attorney who wants to help. How do I volunteer?

Please visit this page to learn more and sign-up as an attorney volunteer.