Author: Rick Stroup

Legal Help for Veterans

Recognizing that the legal process can be confusing and intimidating, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office has an a program called the Office of Military and Veteran Legal Assistance which helps active service members and veterans find legal assistance programs.

The Office’s web site includes links to legal assistance events aimed at veterans, a register of Washington State and national legal service providers and programs, and a nation-wide index to legal assistance programs.  The site also includes a link for attorneys who wish to volunteer to assistance veterans with civil legal issues.

Preparing for Your Neighborhood Clinic Visit

The King County Bar Association, sponsor of the Neighborhood Legal Clinics, has posted a useful checklist for preparing to attend a session at one of their legal clinics.  To make the best use of your time please:

1. Decide on the desired outcome or goal.
2. Schedule an appointment at a Neighborhood Legal Clinic.
3. Write a list of specific questions for the attorney.
4. Bring to the clinic appointment:

–Agreements or contracts (signed or proposed)
–Written rules or policies
–Court orders
–Court papers served on you or that you filed with the court
–All letters or emails to and from person or business with whom you have the disagreement
–Specific paperwork related to the case. For example, employee handbook, parenting plan, child support order, protection order, lease, rental agreement

5. Organize any paperwork from most recent on the top to oldest at the bottom.
6. Identify all deadlines.
7. Tell the legal clinic volunteer about these deadlines.

Remember you only have 30 minutes. Be prepared to tell the history of the legal issue to the legal clinic volunteer.

If your legal issue is vacating your criminal record please bring your Washington Access to Criminal History report.

Responding to a Petition for Visits

The Northwest Justice Project, via its self-help site WashingtonLawHelp.org, has released a new guide to help custodial parents respond to a petition from a third-party–such as a grandparent or another relative–for visitation rights.  It’s titled You Have Been Served with a Petition for Visits and includes a complete set of instructions and forms.  Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to read through the information in two related NJP guides: Which Court can Enter Custody Orders? Questions and Answers about Jurisdiction –which will help you understand how to determine if a Washington court has the right to consider a petition for visitation–and Washington’s New Non-Parent Visitation Rights –which provides a general overview of our State’s Non-Parent Visitation Rights law.

Washington State Assists Furloughed Federal Employees

The Washington State Employment Security Department has announced that Federal workers furloughed due to the partial shutdown of the Federal government may apply for unemployment benefits.  Interested workers can apply online or by phone at 800-318-6022.  They will need to provide verification of their wages in the event ESD cannot reach their agencies.  For more information, visit ESD’s web site.

IdentityTheft.gov Helps You Recover from Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission’s online resource, IdentityTheft.gov, can help you recover from identity theft.  The site uses a three-step process to gather information about your situation, create a recovery plan for immediate action and follow-up steps and, if you choose to create a personal account, to help you track the steps you’ve taken and update your recovery plan as you proceed.  It provides sample letters and checklists.  It also includes custom checklists for specific types of accounts that are often the target of identify thieves and special forms for situations like tax, medical and child identity theft.  The recommended routine is to follow the site’s interview process to produce a custom recovery plan but you can also jump directly to a complete list of all recovery steps contained within the site.  It includes numerous independent links related to identity theft and identity protection, including links to information about the warning signs of identify theft, what your rights are in an identity theft situation and how to contact credit bureaus.

Infographics Help Explain Legal Research Visually

Thanks to LeighAnne Thompson, Reference Librarian at Seattle University School of Law, our site now has copies of the following legal research guides, presented as infographics created with Piktochart.

Many people are visual learners so using the infographics format leverages this fact and can help people better understand information, even complex information like legal research processes.  Please let us know if you find these helpful by contacting us here.

Legal Research Strategy

Researching Municipal Law

Washington Legislative History

Washington Administrative Law

 

“Can I Vote?” Flowcharts to Help You Understand Voting Rights

The Washington State office of the ACLU has posted helpful “Can I Vote?” flowcharts to help people with criminal convictions figure out if they are eligible to vote.  The flowcharts are written in seven languages–English, Chinese, Korean, Oromo, Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese.  A person convicted as an adult of a felony in Washington State loses their right to vote and is also ineligible if they are serving a sentence for any felony conviction from another State or federal court.  The right to vote is automatically restored once the person is no longer under the supervision of the Washington State Department of Corrections.  Read the English language version of the “Can I Vote?” flowchart here.