Annual MLK Day free legal clinic for Alaskans goes virtual this year
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The 12th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day free legal clinic is going virtual because of COVID-19. The event offers free consultation with attorneys regarding family law, housing law, public benefit law and other types of civil law. Traditionally attorneys would volunteer their time at locations across Alaska and do in-person meetings with Alaskans who have low and moderate incomes.
Because of COVID-19 concerns, the event which is hosted by the Alaska Bar Association, the Alaska Court System, Alaska Legal Service Corporation and local bar associations will be over the phone this year. Anyone needing the services can call 844-263-1849 between noon and 4 p.m. on Jan. 18 to reach an attorney and talk about the legal issue they need help with.
Rachael Delehanty is a staff attorney with the Alaska Legal Service Corporation and helps coordinate the day. She said that normally they would love to see everyone’s faces, but this year they had to make it virtual. She said when someone calls the number they will be asked a few questions so that they are able to be put in contact with the correct type of attorney for their issue.
Another service they are offering is the ability to submit questions online at Alaska.FreeLegalAnswers.org. She said that low to medium income people can sign up for an account and then submit a legal question over the site. An attorney will review the question and then answer it. Once the question has been answered an email will be sent to the person and they can log on and read the answer. Delehanty said this is an ongoing service and can be used at any time.
While this year must be virtual, Delehanty said they are hoping to return to normal next year and hold the event in person.
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