September 23, 2011
ABC 6 on Your Side "Ask the Attorney" Program
~ written by Danielle Murphy
The Columbus Bar Lawyer Referral Service is partnering with ABC 6 On Your Side for its newest program, “Ask the Attorney.” This pro bono program runs Wednesday evenings from 5pm–7pm. During the news broadcast, there is a continuous ticker that runs across the television screen providing the telephone number for “Ask the Attorney.”
I had the pleasure of being a volunteer attorney on the panel in the second week of the program. The panel that night also included Ronald Petroff, McNair Petroff; Brian DePew, Law Office of Brian C. DePew (also an attorney in Columbus Bar inc); and Marion Smithberger, Lawyer Referral Service Director.
Upon arriving at the news station, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Once we entered the call room and heard the phones ringing prior to the official 5pm start time, I knew I was in for a busy two hours. Many of the callers had basic legal questions that didn’t require formal legal representation; however, they needed someone knowledgeable to point them in the right direction. In my experience, most of the callers had legal issues in consumer law, domestic relations, employment law, and probate matters. For legal questions that required more in depth attention, I advised them to call the Lawyer Referral Service, because they truly required formal legal representation.
There is an enormous need within the community for assistance in legal matters. Every time I wrapped up a call and placed the phone on the receiver, the phone immediately rang again. And it never stopped, even after the 7pm end time. Knowing that I helped a number of people in such a short time was rewarding. I encourage attorneys to get involved with this program. It is professionally fulfilling to help the underserved with their legal needs, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to get a little face time on the news while doing so.
If you would like to volunteer for this pro bono activity, please contact Marion Smithberger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614/221.4112.
Pictured, from left: Danielle Murphy, Ronald Petroff, Brian DePew, Tom Sussi (ABC reporter)