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Free Legal Advice From Some of the State’s Most Prestigious Law Firms

August 23, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A new collaboration between the State Bar of West Virginia and Legal Aid of West Virginia means anyone with a question about a legal matter can call from anywhere in West Virginia and get free legal advice, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Tuesday.

Stuart McMillan, a member of the State Bar Board of Governors and an attorney at Bowles, Rice, McDavid, Graff and Love, says some of the state's most prominent law firms have each agreed to take calls for a month.

"The larger law firms - Bowles Rice, Jackson and Kelly, Steptoe and Johnson - are manning the phones each month. Callers will get access to lawyers who are very good."

McMillan says some problems could be simple to solve, if people just knew who to ask.

"A lot of times, folks just don't know where to get the information or don't know whether or not they even have a legal issue or what their legal issue may be."

The new Tuesday-night service combines two similar programs by Legal Aid and the State Bar. McMillan says it came about in part because the two organizations found they were overlapping their efforts.

"Legal Aid has been making referrals to the State Bar, the State Bar was making referrals back to Legal Aid. We figured if we somehow partnered the two programs, we would not find ourselves doing referrals back and forth."

The Lawyer Information Service does not guarantee legal representation. But McMillan says the lawyers will help callers decide if they have a legal issue and what it might be, and if an attorney is needed, the service will recommend an attorney in the caller's county. The toll-free Lawyer Information Service number is 1-800-642-3617.

Additional information about the new service is available from Cathy Wallace at Legal Aid of West Virginia, (866)255-4370, Ext. 2129.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV