Community Outreach

One Sandwich at a Time

People who work at Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Goza in Leawood, Kansas, take part in many community service activities, but the one that brings them all together each week to roll up their sleeves is sandwich-making. Every Tuesday, they put together more than 350 ham and cheese sandwiches for the City Union Mission, a homeless shelter in Kansas City. “It’s all hands on deck,” said partner Jim Bartimus, explaining that everyone at the firm participates, and some clients have joined in as well. “People love it,” he said. “It’s unusual.”

Bartimus started the tradition more than 22 years ago, and the firm hasn’t missed a week since. The firm buys the ingredients wholesale from a local grocery store. It started as 50 sandwiches, and then 100, and it grew from there; over the years, the firm has donated more than $100,000 to the cause.  

People at the firm also volunteer together for other causes. Once a month, several of them volunteer at the local food pantry, and the firm allows paid time off for employees to participate. Through the nonprofit Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance and Operation Breakthrough, which supports children who live in poverty, some members of the firm read with kids weekly.

“For many years, the partners have encouraged all attorneys and staff members to participate in charity endeavors for whatever organizations they choose, as well as firm-supported work,” said Kim Millican, the firm’s business manager. “We must set the bar and be the example to others out there.  We can all do more, all the time.  We have to think about the impact we can have on others’ lives through our giving.”

Partner Chip Robertson started a charitable foundation, Christmas Present, Inc., that funds more than 500 gifts for families in need during the holiday season. He saw a need for children whose parents and family members couldn’t provide gifts for them, and he wanted to step in. The office now buys and wraps gifts to be distributed in the area.

Jim and Dana Bartimus started the Dana James Charitable Foundation to help children in need.  They regularly contribute to causes that provide relief for children who need it. The firm has also contributed significantly to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Children’s Mercy Hospital, the local children’s hospital in Kansas City, to fund research.

Bartimus said that once, when he was getting ready to depose a local doctor he was suing, the doctor mentioned that he’d heard Bartimus had donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The doctor told him, “I can’t thank you enough,” explaining that his daughter has leukemia.

“There’s so much need out there,” Bartimus said. “We’re supposed to be lawyers and leaders in our community. We can’t bury our heads in the sand and hope someone else does it.”

Posted on December 28, 2015 at 6:50 pm in Community Outreach, General by kloiacono - RSS 2.0

Lawyer Takes Biking Safety Message to Schools, Courtroom, and Races

Doug Landau is an avid cyclist. As an All American triathlete and duathlete, he represented the United States at the World Championships in Adelaide, Australia, in October 2015. From his office at Abrams Landau in Herndon, Virginia, he can see bikers on the W&OD Trail biking without helmets every day.

He knows from personal and professional experience that head injuries can be devastating, so he decided to do something about it. Several years ago, he started giving away bike helmets to children at local schools. In 2014, he gave away “a helmet a day”—at least 365 helmets. 

As part of the giveaway program, dubbed “Putting Lids on Kids,” Landau teaches children about the dangers of not wearing a helmet and about traumatic brain injuries. He shows them smashed helmets from actual crash victims and uses models of the skull and brain to show how brain injuries happen. He also teaches them how to wear a helmet properly: Law enforcement officers, elected officials, university bike club members, and school staff help custom-fit each child’s helmet. Landau also offers to replace the helmet when the child outgrows it or the helmet gets damaged. “Parents, teachers, and students have received the educational program and helmet giveaway very favorably,” he said. He estimates that he has given away more than 1,000 helmets over the years.

Landau suffered a double concussion himself in 2013. The recovery process was long, he said, and “it was like walking around in Jello.” He said he would often forget words and “would be passed out on the office couch by 2 p.m. every day.” He had studied neurology and had a good understanding of brain injuries, but he didn’t fully appreciate the recovery process until he lived it. Brain injuries require energy to heal, he explained, and most people don’t give the brain the complete rest it requires to fully heal.

He says this experience allows him to be empathetic with the injured athletes he represents and to talk to them knowledgeably about concussions. “My father was a New York City lawyer and inducted into the AAJ [American Association for Justice] Hall of Fame. He used to say that if you have any outside expertise, it can come in handy for helping people,” Landau said. “My knowledge of sports medicine and athletic participation helps me help people injured while participating in recreational activities.” 

Landau’s efforts to support and educate bikers and other athletes also extends outside of local schools and injured clients. He has sponsored the Maryland & Virginia Triathlon Super Series, which includes more than 30 multisport races in the mid-Atlantic region that support local charities. At these events, Landau helps educate people about bicycle safety and sports law.

“It’s important for someone who takes something from a sport to give something back,” he said, and that is why he serves as a volunteer flagger and performs helmet safety inspections at local triathlons and has taught sports law at the Mid-Atlantic Multi-Sport Expo in Washington, D.C.

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 12:08 am in Community Outreach, General by kloiacono - RSS 2.0

Digging In to Help Others

Cope 1 small In recognition of the American Association for Justice TLC National Day of Service, Motley Rice attorney Breanne Cope joined a Dig-In, planting two gardens outside of Austin, including one at a local restaurant where the vegetables are used to feed homeless Austinites.

 A Dig-in is an initiative of Green Corn Project (GCP), a grass-roots, Austin-based non-profit organization that teaches basic organic gardening skills while helping Austin families and community organizations grow organic food gardens. Its primary goal is to encourage and support backyard food gardening in communities that have limited access to affordable, healthy food, using organic and bio-intensive methods to create healthy soil and high-yielding vegetable gardens. 

GCP provides garden recipients with plants, seeds, tools, compost and volunteer labor to double dig and plant a 4 by 12 foot garden. Afterward, GCP continues to provide volunteer support and garden supplies for two years, or longer if needed. Breanne Cope is on the GCP Board of Directors.

 

Posted on July 29, 2015 at 5:57 pm in Community Outreach, General by kloiacono - RSS 2.0

Lawyer’s Hometown Passion Fuels Downtown Revival

George Jebaily: Finalist, 2014 Trial Lawyers Care Award, American Association for Justice

George Jebaily: Finalist, 2014 Trial Lawyers Care Award, American Association for Justice

George Jebaily was seven years old when his family relocated from New York to Florence, South Carolina, in 1963. The community warmly embraced his family and Florence quickly became “home” for the Jebaily family. As adults, George and his brothers raised their own families in Florence. And when the vibrancy of Downtown Florence was noticeably fading, George decided to give back to the city he loves, so that it would shine again for future generations.

The enormous undertaking of redeveloping Downtown Florence, S.C., began in earnest in 1999 with the creation of the Visions 2010 Committee, a citizens’ committee which George chaired. Working with then Mayor Frank Willis, this grassroots outreach effort was organized to engage the community in a dialogue to create a conceptual plan for the redevelopment of Downtown Florence. The Visions 2010 Committee evolved into the Florence Downtown Development Corporation (FDDC), a non-profit organization which worked with consultants to create a detailed Master Plan. The mission of the FDDC was devoted to working with the City of Florence to oversee the implementation of the Master Plan and restore civic pride in Downtown Florence.  

As a part of the 10-year redevelopment plan, George served as the first chairman of the FDDC from 2002-2008, and as the chairman of the Master Plan update committee in 2010. This revised Master Plan continues to provide the framework for moving forward the redevelopment of Downtown Florence. Now, more than 15 years later from when he first began, George is a newly elected member of the Florence City Council and remains committed to the purpose and cause of developing and supporting the town in which he grew up.

“At a time when many others were ‘naysayers’ about the ability for Downtown Florence to have a revival, my brother George was convinced that Downtown Florence would be restored and renewed to make our community a place of pride for a whole new generation,” said Ron Jebaily, who nominated George for the 2014 American Association for Justice Trial Lawyers Care Award.  “That dream keeps driving him forward.”

Downtown Florence, an artist's rendering.

Downtown Florence, an artist’s rendering.

In the fall of 2008, during his last year as Chairman of the FDDC, George recognized the need for increased enthusiasm and support for the redevelopment effort. He believed in the power of the arts to bring people together, enlisting the commitment of two key community artists and activists to create an all-volunteer art gallery space downtown.

The Art Trail Gallery officially opened its doors on December 9, 2008, to a reception of more than 700 community members, many of whom were non-believers in the redevelopment effort prior to the gallery experience. Since then, thousands of visitors have poured through the doors of the Art Trail Gallery, and have viewed the work of more than 600 artists. The gallery has been a major catalyst of economic renewal and has provided momentum for the redevelopment effort.

Pecan Festival-goers crowd the streets in Downtown Florence.

Pecan Festival-goers crowd the streets in Downtown Florence.

Additionally, George served as the chairman of the South Carolina Pecan Festival from its creation in 2004 to the present.The street festival is held each year on the first Saturday in November and has grown to cover 11 linear blocks in Downtown Florence.

Jebaily Law Firm annually provides a sponsorship of the festival, with firm attorneys and staff regularly participating. Festival-goers enjoy free, live concerts on eight stages, plus there are “Run Like A Nut” & “Bike Like A Nut” events, a free Kids Fun Zone, a talent show, pecan cook-off, corn-hole tournament, and more than 250 arts & craft and food vendors. The festival routinely has more than 50,000 attendees, and is a driving force in the renaissance taking place in the heart of the community.

The staff from Jebaily Law Firm, P.A.

The staff from Jebaily Law Firm, P.A.

It’s easy to see how the name George Jebaily has become synonymous with Downtown Florence. His leadership and commitment to the rebuilding process set the stage for bringing together key players to form public-private partnerships that have engaged the greater community in the redevelopment process.Today, Downtown Florence is seeing a major transformation with a new Florence County Library, new Florence Little Theater, new FMU Performing Arts Center, new Florence County Museum, and a host of small businesses who have embraced the vision and have chosen to make an investment in Downtown Florence. Most importantly, there is a now a new belief that Downtown Florence has a vibrancy and attraction which will engage both present and future generations. 

For George, there is no greater thank you than seeing the smiles on the faces of so many members of the community as the redevelopment of Downtown Florence continues to build year after year.

Posted on April 13, 2015 at 7:37 pm in Community Outreach, General by kloiacono - RSS 2.0

Maine Lawyer Encourages Safer Driving for Teens

Joe Bornstein: Finalist, 2014 Trial Lawyers Care Award, American Association for Justice

Joe Bornstein: Finalist, 2014 Trial Lawyers Care Award, American Association for Justice

How do you get teens thinking about the dangers of drinking and driving and distracted driving? Ask Joe Bornstein. As a personal injury lawyer, Bornstein has seen the horrific firsthand effects of dangerous driving.

When his eldest child was able to get a driver’s license, Bornstein decided to focus on educating the most vulnerable drivers and their friends and passengers.

The Arrive Alive Creative Contest is an ongoing project now in its 11th year. Every spring Bornstein asks Maine high school seniors to enter creative projects depicting the dangers of drinking and driving and distracted driving around the “Stay Safe and Arrive Alive!” theme.

Projects can be presented in various mediums – videos, original songs, drawings, paintings, photos, essays, poems and more.

In the past 10 years, the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein has given away more than $85,000 in prizes as a way to help educate teenage drivers in their formative years.  Two award ceremonies are held each spring –in northern Maine and in southern Maine; the top 20 winners along with two guests are invited to attend.  

“With the prevalence of cell phones, smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices, now is the right time to educate the community about the potential dangers in the ways we all communicate,” says Henri Benoit II, a colleague of Bornstein’s, who nominated him for the 2014 Trial Lawyers Care Award.

The Trial Lawyers Care Award is presented by the American Association for Justice to a trial lawyer who has significantly contributed to his/her community through volunteer and charitable activities that serve the public. Bornstein was a 2014 finalist.

For over 40 years, Bornstein and his law firm have represented more than 22,000 injured and disabled Mainers including those affected by drunk driving and distracted driving. This is a subject about which he can speak from experience and with much credibility to make a lasting effect on both teenagers and drivers of all ages.

While parents and teachers have long lectured teens about safe driving, the Arrive Alive Creative Contest gets teenagers to think about existing dangers and to develop memorable messages that can not only win them a new laptop, but also potentially save the lives of friends or loved ones.

Bornstein also gives back to his community leasing the most recognized electric sign in Portland, Maine, which reigns on top of a tall building known locally as the Time and Temperature building. He donates space on the sign to non-profit organizations so that they can display their messages. In addition, over the past decade, Bornstein’s law office has donated more than $750,000 to Maine charities.  

Posted on February 13, 2015 at 8:05 pm in Community Outreach, General by kloiacono - RSS 2.0

Louisiana Lawyer Pays it Forward

Glenn Armentor: Finalist, 2014 Trial Lawyers Care Award, American Association for Justice

Glenn Armentor: Finalist, 2014 Trial Lawyers Care Award, American Association for Justice

Glenn Armentor was born into poverty. His life was headed down a crime-laden path that would have landed him in prison, but three mentors – a police office, a teacher, and an attorney — changed his life. Because of his experience as an at-risk youth,  Armentor established the Pay It Forward Scholarship program, which now gives multiple $10,000 scholarships each year to students in critical need who want to attend college.

”My mentors taught me that every child, no matter how seemingly troubled and problematic, is worth the effort to save and worth the time to turn into a better person,” says Armentor, who is a prominent personal injury attorney in Lafayette, Louisiana, and was a finalist for the American Association for Justice 2014 Trial Lawyers Care Award.

He says the Pay It Forward Scholarship “is far and away my best work.”

Scholarship Poster

Scholarship Poster

The program was structured after thorough research with scholarship experts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation. The $10,000 that a student receives enables him or her to matriculate and begin the process of applying for Pell grants, housing scholarships, merit-based scholarships, book scholarships, and transportation scholarships. Depending on the student’s ACT scores and grade point average, a student who receives the Pay It Forward Scholarship can receive other scholarships and grants ranging in value from $35,000 to $80,000 over the course of four years, essentially helping them pay for all of their college costs.

Armentor intends to expand the scholarship so that it can be offered statewide and even nationally.

“I have made contact with lawyers throughout the state who grew up in poverty and are now doing exceptionally well, and have shared with them the research we did on scholarships, as well as our artwork, templates, and forms so that they can initiate their own scholarship programs,” says Armentor.

He anticipates that six other scholarship programs will arise in six other college towns over the next several years.

Armentor is proud of the work the lawyers at his firm do for injured individuals and families, and he believes, “What sets us apart is the fact that every one of our lawyers has a very significant, highly respected community service project that does a world of good for the constituency it seeks to serve and to benefit…. The lawyers in our firm are happy, our firm feels like part of the community and part of the family of our Acadiana region and we have established a deep friendship and rapport with every segment of our community.”

Glenn and wife Dana, with past and present scholarship recipients.

Glenn and wife Dana, with past and present scholarship recipients.

The scholarship program has come a long way. In its first year, only a few students applied. No one could believe that a trial lawyer wanted to help kids in the most dire of circumstances, and that the scholarship was real. In 2010, the first year of the Pay It Forward Scholarship, one student received the scholarship. In 2011, there were two scholarship recipients; in 2012 four recipients; in 2013 five recipients; and in 2014, two recipients. Videos about the students are featured on the Armentor firm’s website. 

As part of the program, Armentor asks the students to–at some point in their lives–take the time to pay it forward to help someone else. In addition, in 2014 he started bringing all the recipients together for what will be an annual luncheon which will enable the scholarship recipients to stay in touch and mentor and support each other.

 

Posted on January 28, 2015 at 8:49 pm in Community Outreach, General by kloiacono - RSS 2.0

Alabama Attorney Helps Wishes Become Reality

Scott McArdle:  Finalist, 2014 TLC Award, American Association for Justice

Scott McArdle: Finalist, 2014 TLC Award, American Association for Justice

For Make-A-Wish® Alabama, Scott Thomas McArdle is a dedicated supporter, contributing both his time and personal financial resources. In September 2012, the Montgomery lawyer joined the Board of Directors when the chapter became a new, independent entity after separating from the Georgia chapter. During the first year, McArdle served as Vice Chair of the Board, as a member of the Executive Leadership Committee, and Chair of the Nominating/Board Recruitment Committee. Earlier this year, he was unanimously elected by peers to serve as Chairman of the Board for the next two years. All are volunteer positions for which McArdle receives no compensation.

Being Chairman of the Board requires a significant time commitment.

“Mr. McArdle willingly accepted this role and is a focused leader,” stresses Pam Jones, executive director of Make-A-Wish Alabama. “He is a visionary and a collaborator, ensuring that everyone feels a part of the team. He is both a fearless leader and a cheerleader, fostering a positive environment that allows our Board and chapter to flourish.”

In addition to Board leadership, McArdle is also a wish granter, going above and beyond to make sure that a child’s experience is more than one can imagine by turning children’s wishes into reality.  
Wish Granted: Four-year-old travels to Disney World and rescues princess

Wish Granted: Four-year-old travels to Disney World and rescues princess

“Mr. McArdle is respected by his peers, and his compassion for this organization knows no bounds,” said Jones. As a wish granter, Jones notes that McArdle, “…dedicates his personal time and resources to make a child’s wish come true – whether it is a shopping spree for a little girl, a golf outing with a celebrity athlete, or a teenager whose one, true, heartfelt wish is to meet the University of Alabama football team. Mr. McArdle makes these wishes come true in the biggest way possible.”

Wish Granted:  Teen becomes rock star for a day.

Wish Granted: Teen becomes rock star                      for a day.

McArdle is a devoted father of two healthy children. His compassion for others not only leads him to be a part of an organization that restores hope, strength, and joy to those in times of need, but also provides him the opportunity to enrich the community and state in which he lives and loves.

Since September 2012, almost 300 children with life-threatening medical conditions have had their wishes granted with the help of a growing base of individuals or corporate volunteer teams in all 67 counties in Alabama.

As a trial lawyer, McArdle seeks justice for his many clients while also being a steward of the community. In addition to his work for Make-A-Wish® Alabama, McArdle has donated “Slow…Child at Play” signs within neighborhoods to ensure the safety of children.

Wish Granted:  To Help Abandoned Animals.

Wish Granted: To Help Abandoned Animals.

“Mr. McArdle is a leader, and leaders want to make a difference,” says Jones. “Leaders are not happy with status quo; they want progress and they want to make an impact. Mr. McArdle engaged with our charity because he wanted to make a difference – an improvement – in the lives of others in his city and state. From a personal perspective, he is also setting an example for his children by giving of his time and resources to others less fortunate. He has included his children in Make-A-Wish activities so they can begin to understand, even at their young age, the importance of giving back to others struggling with adversity.”

Posted on December 31, 2014 at 5:27 pm in Community Outreach, General by kloiacono - RSS 2.0

One Lawyer’s Quest to Eradicate Cancer: 23 Years and Going Strong

David W. Singer:  Finalist, 2014 TLC Award, American Association for Justice

David W. Singer: Finalist, 2014 TLC Award, American Association for Justice

When David Singer’s mother-in-law, Sylvia Glazer, died suddenly from pancreatic cancer in 1992, she was only 62. That experience led Florida lawyer Singer and his wife Sharon to start a family and get involved with the American Cancer Society.

Singer isn’t your average volunteer.

“In 2014, he will have concluded his 23rd year of chairing one of the most successful American Cancer Society ongoing fundraisers in the nation,” said colleague Peter Walsh who nominated Singer for the American Association for Justice 2014 Trial Lawyers Care Award. Singer was a finalist for the award.

“Certainly, the Jail & Bail event conceived by Singer has made Florida fundraising history. Singer reached over $4 million raised in the years since he has been running this ACS fundraiser,” noted Walsh.

"Judge" Singer,helped by Broward State Attorney Mike Satz & Broward Sheriff Scott Israel. bring some "convicts" to justice.

“Judge” Singer, helped by Broward State Attorney Mike Satz & Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, bring  “convicts” to justice.

Even Singer’s whole law firm, (David Singer & Associates) is involved. Attorneys at the firm serve on the committee known as the Parole Board. Everyone works on a 5,000-piece mailing and everyone gathers items for a silent auction. During the four days of Jail & Bail Week, Singer practically shuts down his office to work on the event.

“David Singer the face of the American Cancer Society in South Florida,” says Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, now the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, a former Honorary Chair of Jail & Bail, and perhaps one of the most famous cancer survivors in America.

Through the years, Singer has involved thousands of people in this event, including local prominent citizens such as members of Congress, Florida governors, Miami Dolphin players (one in the NFL Hall of Fame and one soon to be), the Miami Marlins manager, and even the local sheriff and state attorney.

Singer is hugely proud of three legislative accomplishments the American Cancer Society recently had, which are having a positive impact in Florida:

  1. Florida’s “Clean Indoor Air Act” is the reason there is no longer smoking in bars and restaurants in the state.
  2. A state constitutional amendment now requires the Legislature to use a minimum of 15% of the money that comes to the state via the tobacco settlement, to educate young people on the dangers of smoking. This effort has led to a drastic decrease in smoking among middle school and high school children.
  3. A dollar tax has been added to the price of a pack of cigarettes. This not only raises approximately $1 billion per year for the state budget, also greatly decreases smoking among all age groups.

In April 2010, the Soref JCC (Fort Lauderdale) honored Singer as their Humanitarian of the Year. Also by Proclamation, the State of Florida and Broward County declared April 10, 2010 “David Singer Day.”

“It is interesting and quite telling that, in the 23 years of “Jail & Bail” David Singer has never even mentioned what he does for a living,” wrote Walsh when he nominated Singer for the TLC Award. “The event is not a mere marketing ploy to advance the career of a lawyer. The cause is everything with David. Yet – everyone knows that David Singer is a trial lawyer and everyone sees that a trial lawyer can use his or her knowledge and skills to advance a very selfless cause.”

Posted on at 4:15 pm in Community Outreach, General by kloiacono - RSS 2.0

Guest Post from Doug Sheff: MBA Protects the Vulnerable

Doug Sheff

I have worked for years with other attorneys to represent the underrepresented. We have done a great deal to assist those less fortunate, the most vulnerable throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond. The following describes some of our work when I served as President of the Massachusetts Bar Association:

The association spearheaded pro bono representation of the Boston Marathon bombing victims, many of whom are still struggling. These include victims of traumatic brain injury, and others with injuries that are not visible and difficult to diagnose. We raised funds for and support the Pine Street Inn Project in the hope of creating a new facility there. We raised funds and helped distribute food to 2,000 hungry people before Thanksgiving. We were able to help those who otherwise would have had very little to celebrate on a holiday so many of us take for granted.

Our “Working Families” and “Justice for All” initiatives are particularly focused on creating safe and fair conditions for workers. Drawing on our collaborative nature, we created the Workplace Safety Task Force and brought together attorneys and professionals from medicine, business, insurance, occupational health, academia, government, labor, etc. The Task Force has educated the public, throughout Massachusetts, on issues ranging from fall hazards—the leading cause of death of workers in my state—to the dangers of prescription drug addiction as it relates to disabled workers on medication. The Task Force and the Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA) spearheaded an effort in our legislature which resulted in a new law signed by Governor Deval Patrick that protects 100,000 workers annually.

The MBA, along with worker groups, finally prevailed in creating justice for workers after nine previous attempts by others had failed. Along with fair wages, workers are ensured a higher level of safety. We are currently working to advance a bill which would raise burial benefits for the families of deceased workers, as well as a bill which protects domestic workers, often the victims of abuse. Our Workplace Safety Task Force has become a model for virtually every other state in the country. We recently received an award for innovation and community service by a national non-profit organization representing the interests of millions of workers across the country.

We see much attention paid to professional athletes who have suffered from traumatic brain injury (TBI), but hear little about the 2.4 million in this country, with far fewer resources, who have endured the same. These people go misdiagnosed and unattended. In our military alone, there are 22 suicides per day linked to TBI. The MBA is now actively in the process of establishing a Traumatic Brain Injury Task Force, educating the public and attorneys about this silent epidemic, as well as seeking to collaborate with others in an attempt to facilitate assistance to those in need who are victims of TBI and its consequential conditions.

Our Consumer Advocacy Initiative is a new and exciting component of our work, and seeks to serve as a clearing house for information and legal rights for those who are treated unfairly by big business and powerful interests who would abuse those less fortunate without the means to defend themselves. These efforts include protecting the victims of predatory lending, defective products, and unscrupulous corporate behavior. We also seek to acknowledge businesses that are responsible and supportive of consumers.

The Massachusetts Bar Association has always taken strong and positive positions on issues concerning women, children, the elderly, and sexual orientation. We have developed an entire program devoted to access to justice for the underprivileged. We are proud to represent the underrepresented. I am proud to have served as President of the MBA, an organization that demonstrates that attorneys do great things for our families, our communities, and justice.

 

 

Posted on December 30, 2014 at 6:52 pm in Community Outreach, General by kloiacono - RSS 2.0

Ohio Lawyer Helps First Responders

Blaine writes a will for Montgomery Co. Sherriff's Office Chief Deputy Streck and his wife.

Blaine writes a will for Montgomery Co.     Sherrif’s  Office Chief Deputy Streck and his   wife.

“My Father served in the military— that is the benchmark I use for giving back,” says Ohio trial and firearms lawyer Erik R. Blaine. Throughout the year, Blaine volunteers his time as the lead attorney for the Dayton Wills for Heroes program by preparing wills for first responders, and teaching other lawyers how to provide this service.

The program is known nationwide as Wills for Heroes, and the Dayton Bar Association is now in its sixth year of helping members of the Ohio law enforcement community plan for emergencies and the inevitable future. In June 2014, Blaine and the other Dayton volunteers celebrated the drafting of the 1,000th will for the first responder community.

Blaine (L) at press conference with Dayton Bar Assoc. Executive Director William Wheeler, and the recipient of the 1000th will.

Blaine (L) at press conference with Dayton Bar Assoc. Executive Director William Wheeler, and the recipient of the 1000th will.

“It’s a phenomenal program,” says Blaine. “The families can come back any time to make updates to reflect their growing or changing needs. I’ve gotten to know the families, and it’s important to be involved in the community that has given me and my family so much.”

The issues he works on with the families include health care decisions, designating power of attorney, and ensuring that responders’ children will have a guardian.

“You don’t need to be an estate planner to lend a hand. At the training sessions for lawyers, we walk them through the process and partner those who are new with lawyers who have experience with the project,” says Blaine.

The Wills for Heroes program started shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when attorney Anthony Hayes emailed his local fire department in Columbia, South Carolina, to see how lawyers could help the fire department. He discovered that what the group needed was help with estate planning.

The program now serves first responders across the country. Qualified first responders include firefighters, police officers, paramedics, corrections and probation officers from federal, state, county, city and town departments and agencies.

Posted on December 29, 2014 at 8:12 pm in Community Outreach, General by kloiacono - RSS 2.0