Addressing COVID-19's Impact on Civil Legal Services
Last month, Chief Justice Harold Melton of the Supreme Court of Georgia declared a statewide judicial emergency, essentially grinding the wheels of justice to a temporary halt, except for matters critical or essential to protecting the “health, safety and liberty of individuals.”
In Georgia, the Atlanta Legal Aid Society offers free civil legal assistance to low-income people in Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, and Clayton counties. For Georgia’s other 154 counties, which are covered by only 30% of the state’s attorneys, the Georgia Legal Services Program works to close the civil justice gap for low-income and senior-aged populations.
Like the rest of the legal profession and much of the business world, Atlanta Legal Aid and Georgia Legal Services attorneys and staff are working remotely during the pandemic and are, for the most part, serving clients by phone and email. They need continued public support and help from the rest of us in Georgia’s legal community like never before.
Contributions from private funders are just as important — if not more so. Georgia’s lawyers this spring will have the annual opportunity to contribute to the Georgia Legal Services Program via their license fee statements. And lawyers and laypeople alike can contribute to both Atlanta Legal Aid and Georgia Legal Services via their websites at www.atlantalegalaid.org and www.glsp.org, respectively.