Free Legal Clinic To Help Eligible Residents
By Dan Fearson of Highlands Today
Published: March 27, 2008
SEBRING — Receiving legal advice and consultation is expensive for everyone, but it's especially tough for those with low incomes.
Today, Florida Rural Legal Services Inc. will hold a free legal clinic for the economically disadvantaged, allowing citizens to receive legal advice and consultation.
It's the first time FRLS, a non-profit organization, has offered a free clinic in Highlands County."We will have seven or more attorneys on site (for the clinic) that would typically offer advice and counsel that could cost a substantial amount of money," said Doris Dunn, of FRLS.
The clinic will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m., at the Highlands County Children's Advocacy Center, 1000 S. Highlands Ave., in Sebring.To qualify to receive help, people have to meet income eligibility requirements.
Dunn said that as of Thursday, 10 people had qualified for the session. Walk-ins are also welcome but they would first have to fill out a questionnaire detailing their eligibility.
A diverse group of attorneys, with expertise in different areas –– including bankruptcy law, property law, family law, consumer law and criminal law –– will be available.
"During past clinics, we've had a number of people seeking advice when it comes to family and divorce issues," said Dunn. "Often, they purchase divorce paperwork from courthouses and have no idea how to fill it out; this clinic can help with those types of issues."
Dunn also said foreclosure issues and elderly credit issues have been popular during past clinics."We've had a number of elderly people come in who don't understand credit issues and don't understand consumer issues," said Dunn.
Dunn said that the FRLS often ends up working with people who don't meet eligibility requirements by finding income deductions.
"It's just free advice," said Dunn. "People are not going to walk out of the clinic with an attorney provided by us."
The Highlands County branch of the FRLS operates out of a Lakeland, which also services Hardee and Polk counties.
For information about the clinic, call 1-800-277-7680 or 863-688-7376.