Legal Aid celebrates Law Day

By The West Virginia Record | May 14, 2010

CHARLESTON -- In recognition of the nationally celebrated "Law Day," Legal Aid of West Virginia marked Law Day 2010 with events spanning from Morgantown to Parkersburg to Berkeley Springs.

In total, 65 people received free legal advice from 13 volunteer attorneys. Also, a stellar event was held in Morgantown.

A Presidential Proclamation is issued every year calling upon the community to "celebrate commitment to the rule of law," through the observation of Law Day.

This year, President Obama established as the theme as "Law in the 21st Century: Enduring Traditions and Emerging Challenges."

Morgantown

Legal Aid of West Virginia, in partnership with the Monongalia County Bar Association, hosted a Law Day celebration in Morgantown on Friday, April 30. The breakfast and awards program were held at the WVU Erikson Alumni Center. The 2010 Law Day program included a welcome provided by the Mayor of Morgantown, Bill Byrne, and remarks by The Honorable Russell M. Clawges Jr., Chief Judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit .

In addition, the Regina Charon 'Zealous Advocate' Award was presented to Attorney Catherine D. Munster for her focus on court and law reform, and advocating for those who have neither a voice nor standing in the justice system. Said Catherine, "I stand before you to accept this award on behalf of every child in West Virginia, whose life has been made better by my work as their advocate. I am very humbled to accept the Regina Charon Award."

The '2010 Legal Aid of West Virginia Star Awards' were presented in three categories – Support, Service and Partnership – to individuals who, through purpose and passion, have shined for legal services through the years. The 2010 Star Awards will be presented to:

* In the category of Support: The Honorable Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer, for her persistent support of legal services funding in the West Virginia State Legislature. Delegate Fleischauer has been instrumental in ensuring that, even in the toughest budget years funding for legal services to domestic violence victims has been secure.

Remarked Delegate Fleischauer, "I was in the right place, at the right time, with a pen in hand when a funding bill crossed my desk. I took the opportunity presented me to ensure that legal services for domestic violence victims was secure."

* In the category of Service: WVU College of Law Professor Marjorie McDiarmid, for her lifetime of leadership on behalf of legal services , both nationally and in West Virginia. Professor McDiarmid has served on the Legal Aid of West Virginia Board of Directors and its predecessor organization for more than 20 years.

"My years of service to legal services, and the poor people across the state who benefit from their advocacy, has greatly enriched my life. It's been an honor to serve in this manner," said Professor McDiarmid.

* In the category of Partnership: The West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, for their statewide, nationally recognized model of partnership with legal services. Each of the twelve Legal Aid of West Virginia offices across the state partner with their local domestic violence shelter, to provide legal services for domestic violence victims. This model partnership between shelter staff and legal aid attorneys has been emulated nationally, has received national awards and recognition and most importantly, has saved thousands of lives.

"Our partnership with Legal Aid of West Virginia has saved thousands of lives. What an honor it is to accept this award on behalf of our 14 programs across the state," reflected Sue Julian, Executive Director of The West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Parkersburg

The Pro Bono Referral Program of Legal Aid of West Virginia, in partnership with the Wood County Bar Association, hosted a day of free legal consultation in Parkersburg on May 5. Seven local attorneys volunteered much of their day to speak with Wood County residents.

Coordinated by Legal Aid of West Virginia, volunteer attorneys provided advice on matters such as bankruptcy, divorce, support, custody, wills and estates, real estate, landlord/tenant, commercial, employment, social security disability and certain other areas of law. The event was graciously hosted by St. Paul's United Methodist Church.

Seven local attorneys participated by providing free advice, including: Attorney Richard Bush, Attorney George Chandler II, Attorney Kathy Thomas, Attorney Robert Ellison, Attorney Richard Hayhurst, Attorney Walt Auvil, Attorney Ginny Conley, and Regina Law of Jan Dils, Attorney at Law.

About 50 people attended the event seeking free legal advice.

Berkeley Springs

The Pro Bono Referral Program of Legal Aid of West Virginia hosted a day of free legal consultation in Berkeley Springs on May 1. Six attorneys graciously gave of their time to provide legal consult, at no charge to Morgan County residents. Participating Attorneys included: Bill Carey, Greg Garretson, Bill Harmison, Joanna Robinson, Glen Stotler and Dawn White.

Advice was given on matters relating to custody modifications, consumer contracts, long-term disability, criminal charges, credit issues, real estate, divorce, wills, insurance settlements and bankruptcy.

Clients' comments indicated they found the consultations helpful. "I received lots of specific information that allows me to make decisions," said one participant.

For more information contact Legal Aid of West Virginia at (304) 343-3013 Ext. 2154 or visit www.lawv.net.

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