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April 2, 2020

Tag: sandra madrigal

Free legal services offered at library

Morgan Hill residents who need legal services but can’t afford to hire an attorney or travel north to visit one can now consult with a lawyer “virtually” at the local library.The Pro Bono Project earlier this year set up the free Web conferencing service at the Morgan Hill Library to connect local residents with lawyers in northern Santa Clara County, and the nonprofit organization will be sponsoring two events to “kick off” the service later this year, according to Pro Bono Project Executive Director Sandra Madrigal. The first such event will take place Aug. 20-22, and the next will be during October, which is Pro Bono Month. The virtual legal consultation program uses WebEx live video conferencing to connect lawyers to local residents. Anyone in need of legal consultation on family, contract, real estate or any other area of the law other than criminal can make an appointment to teleconference with an attorney at the Morgan Hill Library, according to Morgan Hill Community Librarian Peggy Tomasso. Appointments are for 20 minutes at a time and are free to everyone who signs up. The program has been booked solid since it started at the Morgan Hill Library in January, Tomasso said. The Pro Bono Project is a nonprofit that seeks to provide free legal services to residents who need them, but can’t always afford an attorney. The organization has been working on expanding its services in South County, where it can be difficult for residents to travel to San Jose, Palo Alto or other areas where free legal services are already offered, Madrigal explained. The virtual conferencing program at the Morgan Hill Library is a “win-win” for everyone involved, Madrigal said. Attorneys often charge $200 per hour or more for their services, but residents can gain basic legal services for free through the library at the program. Plus, the attorneys who participate in the Pro Bono Project won’t have to travel from areas in northern Santa Clara County to meet with clients. “The clients using the technology don’t have to worry about doing anything too complicated - it’s relatively easy,” Madrigal said. “It’s something we’re excited about - trying to make sure it’s as easily accessible to the community as possible.”The Morgan Hill Library is located at 660 W. Main Ave., and can be reached at (408) 779-3196.