When Beth Andersen reached out to follow attorney Ric Morgan in 2012 to team up on free client video clinics, he insisted on using Zoom video software. Jefferson court staff introduced the pair who had followed a parallel trajectory of seeking support to consult with clients via video.
Ric was already using Zoom video to assist clients in rural areas. Beth had proposed a pro bono program allowing attorneys to volunteer and provide guidance from the comfort of their own offices and without sacrificing precious billing time to travel.
Unfamiliar with Zoom, Beth had been using Facetime and Skype like everyone else. Ric, a former engineer, was on first name basis with the Zoom engineers and brought that platform into the Jefferson County video consult program Beth and Ric have collaborated on for several years. By being an early adopter of Zoom, Ric clearly was ahead of his time.
For the ninth year, Jefferson County residents have access to free legal advice through the 1st Judicial District’s monthly Virtual Pro Se Clinics. Through the program, residents can receive 20 minutes of advice from volunteer lawyers on all areas of civil litigation, including family law, property law and probate via Zoom connections at local libraries. The clinic runs 2-5 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month, and Beth is a monthly volunteer.
Since the statewide program came to Jefferson County, volunteers have delivered 124 clinics and assisted 934 clinic patrons. It has consistently been the best-attended branch of the program.
Due to this success and the desire to give more people access to the legal advice they need, the program has expanded sign-ups to all 10 Jeffco libraries. Previously, patrons could sign up for conferences at the Evergreen and Belmar (Edgewater during Belmar construction) libraries.
Jeffco libraries are in: Arvada, Belmar, Columbine, Conifer, Edgewater, Evergreen, Golden, Lakewood, Stanley Lake and Wheat Ridge.
While the clinics have gone on uninterrupted throughout the pandemic, they have moved to telephone conferences. The program will transition back to Zoom at the libraries once the pandemic has ended.
Advanced registration is required. Appointments are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so register early. Call 303-235-5275 or visit bit.ly/JeffCoVPC.
Topics the Virtual Pro Se Legal Clinics cover include:
- Family law
- Estate planning
- Small claims
- Veterans benefits and appeals