Free legal advice draws crowd

June 1, 2013 • Local News

People line up outside the Roswell District Courthouse for Roswell Legal Fair, Friday afternoon. (Mark Wilson Photo)

Several residents took advantage of the opportunity to get free legal advice at the Roswell District Courthouse Friday afternoon.

The line of people quickly took over the top tier of concrete outside the courthouse as those seeking a consultation, which typically would cost $100 or more, waited patiently to speak to one of some 15 to 20 lawyers inside.

“Most attorneys really enjoy it,” said Jared Kallunki, a Roswell attorney [auth] and committee member of the Chaves County Pro-Bono Committee. “It’s an opportunity to do something nice for community members.”

The committee puts on a free legal fair twice a year and attracts more than 80 people each time, Kallunki said.

Those who attended could ask questions regarding divorce, custody, landlord and tenant issues, credit and debt, food stamps and welfare, guardianship and kinship, power of attorney, employment, Medicaid, car loans and personal injury issues.

Most issues involved civil and family matters, Kallunki said. The lawyers were able to speak to attendees individually for some 20 minutes each and give them advice, point them in a direction or evaluate their cases.

“It’s something that is being done statewide,” Kallunki said. “It’s not in every district or county, but it’s really good when we’re able to reach out to someone and provide legal advice to people who need it.”

Joel Vargas and his wife, Jana Vargas, waited outside to discuss adult guardianship and disabled issues with an attorney.

“It’s always nice if you don’t have to pay that fee,” Joel Vargas said.

They have paid $100 or more in the past for a consultation.

“It’s really cool that they offer to do it for nothing,” Jana Vargas said.

Joaquin Martinez of Roswell said he was willing to wait however long it took to seek advice on an employment issue he faced. “If it’s free, definitely,” he said.

“I believe I was wrongfully terminated,” Martinez said. “I’m trying to see if I have a case more than anything else.”

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