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WA Lawyers Get and Give Free Foreclosure Advice

March 9, 2009

Seattle, WA - On Tuesday, more than 200 attorneys will go back to school to learn how to help people avoid foreclosure - people who couldn't afford their services, from homeowners to tenants living in buildings that could be foreclosed upon. Participants will use the knowledge they gain at the seminar to offer "pro bono" (no cost) legal advice through a variety of nonprofit social service groups that serve low-income individuals.

Karen Koehler with the Washington State Association for Justice says the seminar instructors come from her Association, the Washington Attorney General's office, and groups like Solid Ground and the Urban League. Koehler adds that most lawyers know something about foreclosure law, and the seminar refresher will help them meet the demand caused by the current economy.

"There are attorneys who handle foreclosures and make a living out of it. But we're talking about representing people who aren't going to be able to afford to hire those attorneys. We're trying to provide a public service for people who are in desperate need."

Karen Koehler says the "pro bono" work that law firms do is often some of the most rewarding for their attorneys.

"Lawyers get a bad 'rep' for always being about the buck. But in my experience, many more lawyers practice law because we have a passion for justice. Whenever possible, we work on cases we can donate time to. We just want to help people, and that's what we do."

The seminar, "Foreclosure: How to Assist Homeowners," received such a massive response that it had to be moved to a larger venue. It will be held at Plymouth Church, 1217 Sixth Ave., Seattle, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. March 10. Although it is full, Koehler says the Association website, www.wasingtonjustice.org, has links to groups offering the free legal advice.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA