N.C. Bar gets record calls on Service Day
Mar 01, 2013 (The Charlotte Observer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The North Carolina Bar Association's annual free legal hotline was on track to break records Friday.
Between 400 to 500 volunteer attorneys across the state donated time to the sixth annual "4ALL Statewide Service Day," which ran from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday. A Spanish-language center took calls from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The eight call centers statewide were on pace to answer nearly 10,000 calls by the end of the day, an increase from years past, association director of communications Russell Rawlings said. "Previously, 8,870 (calls) had been the record. We were at 5,000 at half through the day," he said.
Also, 2013 is the first year volunteers have fielded calls from eight call centers; the event previously operated with only seven. The newest call center served the Winston-Salem area.
The Charlotte call center -- hosted at WBTV News 3 -- was staffed by about 80 volunteers throughout the day in four, three-hour shifts, said David Bohm, assistant executive director of the association.
He said the local call center had served more than 1,200 callers by 4 p.m. Friday, and were likely to hit 1,600 calls -- which was last year's record -- when the center closed at 7 p.m.
Bohm said the calls they received ranged from questions about estate planning and how to expunge criminal records to questions about family law and personal injury. "(The callers are) not just the poor, but people of financial means who need access and don't know where to go," Bohm said.
"(We've gotten calls from people) who disagree with the president and want to know what legal action they can take against the president. It's all over the place, the kinds of calls."
Rawlings said there has never been a shortage of lawyers willing to volunteer their time.
"Each year, the call centers are fully staffed, and during the day, we talk about we how could plug more volunteers and phone lines in next year," he said.
For those who missed the annual call-in, Bohm said, smaller but similar events are held locally throughout the year and those interested should contact the state bar association to get those dates.
"If they contact us, we can put them in touch with upcoming events where they can get this kind of help. We're proud to provide this service. It's something that's part of our mission."
Trenda: 704-358-5089; Twitter: @htrenda
___ (c)2013 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) Visit The Charlotte
Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) at www.charlotteobserver.com Distributed by MCT
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]