State Bar Of Arizona Keeps COVID-19 Legal Help Hotline Running As Pandemic Continues
The pandemic has created a whole host of new challenges for people, from medical to financial to legal. So back in May, the State Bar of Arizona decided to set up a legal help hotline to help answer people’s legal questions that have arisen since COVID-19 changed everything.
“We started to talk about how we might put together a hotline where we could be responsive to the needs of people in the public who were having legal issues related to the pandemic and how we may be able to provide them legal information and also a free consult on particular issues," said Joel England, CEO of the State Bar of Arizona.
England says the hotline was set to close in December 2020, but as the pandemic continued on — and people continued to need help — they decided to keep it going.
People can call for help with everything from housing to unemployment issues resulting from COVID-19.
“Then we go into hooking them up with a referral for a free 30-minute consult and that can be with one of the attorneys that has volunteered to answer the call or it can be through our partner relationships in the different legal aid organizations or county bars," England said.
So far the hotline has been able to help over 150 small businesses, and it has provided one-on-one consultations with over 725 cases — including hundreds of older adults with legal questions.
England told The Show that people’s areas of concern have been varied, but a few common ones stand out.
“You know, you have a wide variety of them, but the pandemic has hit lots of people in lots of different ways, but certainly housing, employment, and financial concerns are a few of the top ones that we see," England said.
England says the hotline will continue as long as they see a need for COVID-19 legal help from Arizonans. It’s open from noon to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and it’s free for callers.