Volunteer Legal Services Project has offered Wills Clinics in the past, but the HELP-U commitment by two legal departments provides a strategy and resources that will reach more of the underserved older population by focusing on residents in Rochester Housing Authority buildings.
VLSP attorney Ann Williams helped to identify community needs, with the first two programs held at Hudson Ridge Towers and Danforth Towers.
The third clinic was held September 29th at Keeler Park Apartments with the return visit on October 13, 2016.
“When we [volunteer pro bono attorneys] meet with clients at their residence, we explain the purpose of a health care proxy and Power of Attorney, in addition to gathering facts for a Will,” Ferris said. “We need to establish trust and understand their family make up to carry out their wishes. We prepare the documents and go back to meet with the clients for review and signing.”
Jon O. Webster is the pro bono coordinator at Harter Secrest & Emery, and he is delighted to embrace this elder law outreach program.
“The overall firm survey results corresponded to VLSP’s identification of elder law as presenting a community opportunity for a pro bono wills clinic,” Webster explained. “We had partnered with Gail Norris at the University of Rochester the year she was Campaign for Justice Chair. We coordinated and presented an Ethics CLE in 2014 and plan to present their third Ethics CLE this fall for the 2016 Campaign for Justice.”
Aileen Shinaman and Mark Wright from the UR Office of Counsel have participated in the first two wills clinics. Norris is pleased to have another collaboration with Harter Secrest & Emery.
From HS&E, Andrew Anderson, Candance Curran Espinosa, Jeffrey Donigan, Amanda Dwyer, Lucrecia Knapp, and Glenn Schiek have joined Ferris and Webster at the clinics thus far.
Written by Nora A. Jones