December 17, 2010
CBA Joins National Effort to Benefit Employees
The Columbus Bar Lawyer Referral Service will be participating with the U.S. Department of Labor, the American Bar Association, and Lawyer Referral Services from all over the country in a new program to help people with FMLA and FLSA claims.
President-Elect David Bloomfield Jr. last month attended the Middle Class Task Force Event at the White House, co-hosted by the Department of Justice’s Access to Justice Initiative. At the event, the Vice President announced new steps that the Obama Administration is taking in partnership with the legal community to make it easier for workers to find qualified attorneys when they believe their rights have been violated, to strengthen foreclosure mediation programs, and to help veterans cope with legal challenges.
The Department of Labor and the ABA are launching a new partnership to help workers resolve complaints received by DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, such as not getting paid the minimum wage or overtime, or being wrongfully denied family medical leave. DOL resolves more than 20,000 of these complaints every year, but because of limited resources, there are thousands more they are unable to pursue.
Starting on December 17, people whose cases cannot be pursued will be provided with a newly created toll-free number that will connect them with an ABA-approved attorney referral service so they can find a qualified lawyer to help with their claims. In particular, callers to this toll-free hotline in Southeastern Ohio will be referred to the Comubus Bar LRS (and those approved CBA attorneys participating in the program).
Professor Laurence Tribe, Special Counsel on Access to Justice issues, said that access to justice should be viewed “not only as a snapshot that we view from 35,000 feet, but as it is lived day to day.” He stressed the need to form new innovative, community-based initiatives, like the lawyer referral program, to increase real access to justice not only to the indigent, but to Americans who need affordable legal services.
As Vice President Biden said, “In difficult economic times, we want to make sure all Americans – regardless of income or status – have access to the resources they need to pursue justice.”
David Bloomfield said that it is heartening that the Columbus Bar was recognized as a leader in lawyer referral and in access to justice. He added that the CBA is committed to ensuring that all citizens have access to justice, and this program offers attorneys on the LRS panel a unique opportunity to participate in this nationwide initiative.
Lawyers who wish to join the LRS and participate in the program should contact Marion Smithberger at email@example.com or call 614/340.2070.
For more about the programs, visit the White House web site at www.whitehouse.gov.blog/2010/11/19/ helping-middle-class-families-pursue-justice.
From left: ABA President-elect William Robinson III, President of the Milwaukee Bar Association Rachel Schneider and CBA President-Elect David Bloomfield Jr. Photo by Lisa Helfert.