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State Bar Of Arizona To Hold Free Legal Aid Clinic This Weekend

last will
(Photo by graphicstock.com)
The State Bar will be offering free help with divorce and child support, immigration, wills and trusts, and bankruptcy and foreclosure.

Whether you’re dealing with a divorce, writing your will or submitting an immigration petition, legal help is expensive. That’s why, this weekend, the State Bar of Arizona is holding a free Legal Aid Clinic for anyone who wants to sit face-to-face with an attorney and get their legal questions answered.

This is the fifth year they’ve held clinics like this. There will be 24 lawyers volunteering at two sites for the event, which was begun to celebrate national Law Day, the State Bar said.

“Certainly, there is a need for this,” said Valley immigration attorney Ezequiel Hernandez with Hernandez Global. “In my type of law that I practice, there’s a lot of fraud and misinformation.”

Hernandez volunteered for the State Bar’s free legal clinic last year, as well as the clinic they held after President Obama issued his executive order on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

He said notario fraud — people who pretend to be lawyers — is common in the Latino community here.

“There’s a lot of individuals who say they’re attorneys — and they give legal advice, and that’s against the law,” he said. “And when these individuals make a mistake in a case, they leave the client without any legal recourse.”

At last year’s clinic, he said he was able to help about 40 people with their questions about immigration law. Most of them, he said, had tried to file something, but it had been denied, often for reasons they didn’t understand.

“There were errors as simple as the wrong filing fee,” he said. “But they don’t know that, they just got the petition rejected and the individual who filed it charged them for it and said, ‘Oh, you were denied.’”

Obviously that notario didn’t tell them they made a mistake, he said.

The State Bar said they had 219 people go through their clinics last year. This year, they’re offering help with divorce and child support, immigration, wills and trusts, and bankruptcy and foreclosure.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.