Online intake program: LAD launches new option to find legal help

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Prospective clients of Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc. (LAD) can now apply for legal help online through LAD’s new online intake program. 

LAD serves low- and moderate-income residents of Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties, including the city of Detroit. Previously, they could either call LAD’s toll-free telephone number, 877-964-4700, or walk in at one of LAD’s offices.

Now they can also apply for help by computer by going to LAD’s website at http://www.ladadetroit.org/, clicking on the “Need a Lawyer?” tab on the menu at the top of the page, and following the instructions.

The online intake program was developed under the direction of Sharon Horner Gant, director of program and information systems for LAD’s Civil Law Group. Currently, it accepts new applications from clients with housing and public benefits issues. Applications from clients with other issues will be accepted shortly.

LAD is working with community partners throughout its service area to implement the program. One of those partners is Oakland County’s Adams-Pratt Law and Research Library, 1200 N. Telegraph Road in Pontiac.

Librarians at Adams-Pratt say the program is very intuitive, according to Laura N. Mancini, director of library services for the county. “People without their own computers can access the program using Adams-Pratt’s computers,” she said.

Mancini and Kelly L. Bidelman, managing attorney of LAD’s Oakland County office in Pontiac, demonstrated the program to representatives of the Oakland County Bar Association (OCBA) and the Oakland County Bar Foundation (OCBF) at Adams-Pratt on January 26.

“It’s another avenue to access our services,” Bidelman said. “Librarians can’t give legal advice, but they can help guide people using the program.”

“Anything that makes it easier for folks to access LAD’s terrific services has our total support,” said Thomas W. Howlett of The Googasian Firm PC in Bloomfield Hills and president of the OCBA.

“We’re delighted to support LAD’s efforts to help those needing legal services,” said Eric J. Pelton of Kienbaum, Opperwall, Hardy, & Pelton PLC in Birmingham and president of the OCBF.

LAD is metropolitan Detroit’s premier public service law firm, according to its president and CEO, Deierdre L. Weir. “We work with clients in a comprehensive manner, so that as we solve their legal problems, we help solve other problems as well. Our new online intake program will enhance our ability to do so.”

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