Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Clinic will offer free legal aid at Donelson Station

By ANDY HUMBLES • Staff Writer (Tennessean)• June 11, 2008 The Donelson Station will be the location of the third in a series of free legal aid clinics for those age 50 and over, 1-3 p.m. Friday, June 13. Drafting wills and living wills, establishing durable powers of attorney, and advice on issues such as health care, credit matters, denial of benefits, Social Security or mortgages will be covered. If necessary, a case can be referred to a volunteer attorney for future work. "We get calls all the time from people that have legal questions, and it can be very expensive" to hire legal counsel, FiftyForward Donelson Station Executive director Jane Schnelle said. "I know it will be very well attended.'' The Nashville Pro Bono Program that operates as part of the Legal Aid Society of Nashville and the Cumberlands is sponsoring the Senior Adult Legal Clinics. The first free legal aid clinic with FiftyForward, formerly known as Senior Citizens Inc., was in April at the FiftyForward in Bordeaux. The second was in May at the FiftyForward Knowles Center. The first two clinics have been the first Friday of a month. There was a conflict at the FiftyForward Donelson Station on the first Friday of June, which is why it's the second Friday this month. The FiftyForward Donelson Station had been known as Donelson Senior Center until a recent name change. The first two clinics had 38 seniors attend and more than 60 issues handled; said Nashville Pro Bono program director Lucinda Smith. The plan is to have one senior clinic most months at each of the five Davidson County senior centers, said Knowles Center director Sally Solesby. "It's a great service for people that may have not gotten around to writing a will or establishing a power of attorney,'' Solesby said. "The response to the first two were successful. My hopes are that they continue.'' The Nashville Pro Bono Program has partnered with the in-house legal department of Caterpillar Financial Services based in Nashville and Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz for the senior clinics. Nashville Pro Bono also has commitments from Corrections Corporation of America and LP Building Products to have company attorneys participate. Other legal firms and departments could also be involved, Smith said. "It's good for us as an engagement tool and makes people glad about what they do,'' said Mike Sposato, general counsel of Caterpillar Financial who helped coordinate that company's involvement. Brett Parks of Caterpillar Financial was one of several volunteer lawyers participating at the FiftyForward Knowles clinic in May. Paralegals and an information technology person have also participated at the clinics. "The clients I served had different needs,'' Parks said. "One didn't need us to create any documents, but recently had her husband pass away and was interested in things she should be doing, and we were able to advise her. "Another lady did need some documents and a living will and had limited means, and we were able to create those documents. "It's not an issue many want to deal with — their own demise. But seniors need to think of . . . what needs to happen.'' The senior legal clinic grew out of other free clinics offered to the public, including one at the Legal Aid Society office on Deaderick Street the fourth Saturday of the month and another offered the third Friday of the month at Woodbine Community Center. Contact Andy Humbles by telephone at 726-5939 or by e-mail at

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