New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/27/02
CONTACT:Barbara S. Straczynski
Communications and Marketing Manager
732-937-7524

NJSBA Encourages Use Of Free Resources To Close Legal Aid Services Gap

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Jersey State Bar Association responded today to a Legal Services of New Jersey report stating that a majority of lower income adults are not aware of free legal services and legal referral agencies.

“Even to those with direct experience of legal issues and processes in New Jersey, the sheer number of lower income people with civil legal problems—more than 400,000 each year—is overwhelming. There are many programs that county bar associations, the NJSBA and the New Jersey State Bar Foundation offer that lower income individuals should use to make them aware that they indeed have a legal problem and that they can get help,” said NJSBA President Richard J. Badolato.

“While the report indicates that future research is needed regarding methods of community and public legal education, we encourage county bar association lawyer referral services to advertise and publicize their programs. The state bar association receives on average 300 to 400 calls per month from individuals looking for an attorney, and they are referred to their local county bar association lawyer referral service. The NJSBA also provides a comprehensive list of these organizations on its website www.njsba.com,” he said.

The New Jersey State Bar Foundation, the nonprofit educational and philanthropic arm of the NJSBA, provides a wide variety of free law-related programs, seminars and publications to the public, legal community and New Jersey's schools. Through its toll-free number, 1-800-FREE LAW, inquiries regarding legal matters, reservations for the seminar series, and requests for information on free publications and school-based programs are handled. Detailed information on New Jersey State Bar Foundation programs can be obtained through its website, www.njsbf.org. The foundation does not offer legal representation.

“The foundation’s law-related seminars for the public provide free information on various aspects of the law to the public. Lower income New Jerseyan’s may not have access to the Internet, but the toll-free number can help them take advantage of the seminars and other foundation services,” said Badolato. Seminar topics include landlord-tenant issues, child custody/grandparents’ rights, special education law, how to start a business, wills and estate planning, divorce law and more.

“The Bar Association has long been a supporter of Legal Services, precisely because of its response to the issues addressed in the report. Legal Services of New Jersey is to be congratulated for undertaking an empirical study on the legal needs of New Jersey’s lower income population similar to what has been done at the national level by the American Bar Association. This data provides an important starting point for the legal profession to further serve the public interest.”

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice.

- NJSBA -