Rowan Public Library to hold ‘Lawyers at the Library’ on Monday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 1, 2018

SALISBURY — Six lawyers have signed up to give free legal advice at the Rowan Public Library’s first “Lawyers at the Library.”

The program’s organizer, reference librarian Abigail Hardison, said she and other librarians are often asked legal questions by people who — for the most part — cannot afford legal advice.

“The legal system is very difficult to navigate, and an attorney might be beyond their scope,” Hardison said.

But because librarians are not licensed attorneys, the cannot give out substantial legal information.

“So it’s really frustrating for us because … we’re limited in what we can tell them,” Hardison said. “If we say anything wrong, it could get everyone in trouble.”

To bridge this gap between people and the legal information they need, Hardison decided to set up a local version of a national program called Lawyers at the Library.

“People who don’t have a lot of additional income … still need to do things like file for divorce or track down a spouse for child support,” Hardison said. “There are attorneys at (the Department for Social Services), but imagine how busy they are.”

Hardison said six local attorneys have volunteered to serve at the upcoming event, which will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 5 at the library’s main branch at 201 W. Fisher St.

She said several other lawyers had scheduling conflicts but volunteered for future programs, should the library choose to have another.

The six attorneys who will be participate Monday are:

• B. Ashley Andrews, who specializes in traffic, criminal and family law.

• Dick Huffman, who specializes in Supplemental Security Income, disability, worker’s compensation and entrepreneurship law.

• J. Andrew Porter, who specializes in probate, estates and wills.

• David Post, who specializes in landlord and tenant, debtor and creditor, and probate and estate law.

• Douglas A. Smith, who specializes in family, criminal and civil law.

• Bryan Wymbs, who specializes in probate, estates and wills.

Each of the six lawyers has an office in Salisbury.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the program had 16 people signed up and two open slots.

The 18 participants will each get 20 minutes with a lawyer who will be assigned to them by the library staff. Each attorney will see a maximum of three people.

Hardison emphasized in a news release that the program is for informational purposes and that “no attorney-client relationship is being created with this service.”

“It’s a goal of (the Rowan Public Library) to provide programs to our community that connect people with the resources and information that they need to grow, learn and succeed,” Hardison said in the release. “This program does just that.”

The program is free. Anyone interested in signing up should contact Hardison at 704-216-8248 or Abigail.Hardison@rowancountync.gov.

Hardison said that even if all program slots are filled, she wants people to reach out and tell her what kinds of legal advice they would want at potential future events.

“We’re going to do it again. We’re just not sure how we’re going to do it again,” Hardison said. “We might divvy it up and do specialized days. Maybe one for wills and probates and maybe another for family law.”

Hardison said in the news release that the program might become annual or biannual.

“If the community need is there and the lawyers are willing,” Hardison said.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.

 

Comments