December 2008
Legal Helplines Connection
An Update on  News and Resources
Welcome to the first edition of the Legal Helplines Connection.  This bi-monthly electronic newsletter will help keep you informed on news and resources for legal helplines throughout the nation. 
Keep Up the Good Work!

California Senior Legal Hotline Helps with Mortgage Payment
  A  69 year old client contacted the California Senior Legal Hotline because she could no longer afford to make her monthly mortgage payment after her son stole a substantial portion of her savings. Legal hotline staff negotiated a loan modification with her lender, reducing her interest rate from 8.34% to 5.5%. The monthly payment was reduced by $936 per month allowing the client to stay in her home.

A Model Approach in Florida
  Creating a successful partnership to deliver legal services to seniors in  a state with eleven Area Agencies on Aging and even more legal services providers is a real challenge.  Participants in AoA-funded Florida's Model Approach to Statewide Legal Services Project presented a workshop at the National Conference on Law and Aging, December 4-6th, highlighting their successful practices and collaborative strategies to create an integrated legal services system.

Under the leadership of the Legal Assistance Develop, Sarah Halsell, Florida has worked effectively to integrate the statewide Florida Senior Legal Helpline, housed at Bay Area Legal Services, Inc. with the Title IIIB legal providers, LSC providers, ADRCs and other agencies in the state. The workshop was especially illuminating because members of the various partner organizations described how the Project contributed to improving delivery of services to their clients.

The presenters were: Valerie Soroka, Administration Aging Services Program Specialist; Sarah Halsell, Florida Department of Elder Affairs Bureau Chief of Elder Rights and Legal Services Developer; Maureen S. Kelly President and CEO West Central Florida AAA, Inc; Mary Haberland, Project Director Florida Senior Legal Helpline; and Carol Moody Title IIIB Project Director Bay Area Legal Services, Inc.
A Few Updates from the National Aging and Law Conference

NALC Notes
The National Aging and Law Conference took place in Washington, D.C. December 4th-6th. There were excellent workshops on topics we all deal with every day and a number of workshops on senior legal hotlines. The senior legal hotline managers and legal assistance developers used the opportunity provided by the conference to hold a fruitful joint meeting. The attendees discussed opportunities for collaboration in efforts to make sure the aging network understands the impact of legal services on the lives of seniors.

The National Association of Senior Legal Hotlines held its annual meeting and election at NALC. The new officers are:
  • President - David Mandel, California Senior Legal Hotline, Legal Services of Northern California
  • Vice - President - open.
  • Treasurer - Keith Morris, Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors, Elder Law of Michigan
  • Secretary - Cheryl Feuerman, Consumer Law Project for Elders, Connecticut Legal Services.
  • Director -at-Large - Cat McConnell, Senior Legal Hotline, West Virginia Senior Legal Aid.
  • Director of Advocacy - Bruce Bower, Legal Hotline for Texans, Texas Legal Services Center
Resources You Can Use

Newsletters and Trainings
The Center for Elder Rights Advocacy, the new technical assistance for senior legal helplines and a partner in the National Legal Resource Center, will be producing an electronic newsletter every other month to keep you informed of what is happening in the world of legal helplines.  Additionally, we will be sponsoring a topical training webinar every other month.  For more information on these new resources, visit our website at

Training/Webinar Schedule
  • Data Collection and Utilization for Hotlines January 29, 2009 at 2pm EST
  • Sustainability Strategies March 26, 2009 at 2pm EST
  • Techniques for Targeting Populations May 28, 2009 at 2pm EST
  • Hotline Integration and Referrals  July 30, 2009 at 2pm EST

New Legal Needs Studies Completed
Log onto the CERA website and read recently completed Legal Needs Studies from the following states:
  • North Dakota Legal Needs Assessment for Elderly, 2007
  • Nevada Civil Legal Needs Assessment Report, 2008
  • Kentucky Legal Needs Study, 2007
  • Michigan's Survey of Older Adults in Michigan:  A Report on the Findings, 2008
  • Kentucky's Legal Delivery Systems Assessment, 2008
Help Us Help Others:  Your Call to Action

Data Requests in January
In January, we will be sending out requests for data on your legal helpline.  This will correlate to our webinar on January 28, 2009 at 2pm.  The information provided from this effort allows us to tell others about the great work that legal helplines are doing.  To see 2007's report, click here.

Share your Genius
As hotline managers and other Model Approaches participants, you are great at producing creative products and processes. We want to inspire you to also be great at sharing them with each other. This month we are asking you to email us samples of the brochures you use to advertise and educate your state's seniors and agencies on the services your hotline provides. We will post them on our website so other states can use them as models whenever they need to create or update their brochures.Please send them to