By Paul Miller
Metro Volunteer Lawyers’ Power of Attorney Clinic is the brainchild of Joey Scott, who founded this award-winning program in 2015 during his tenure as an MVL Rovira Scholar. The Rovira Scholarship is given to a recent law school graduate committed to MVL’s mission “to bridge the gap to access to justice by coordinating the provision of pro bono legal services by volunteer lawyers within the Denver metro area to people who could not otherwise afford legal services for their civil legal issues.” Scott’s objective as a Rovira Scholar was to implement a program through MVL that addresses a gap in legal services for indigent clients. As a result of his hard work, foresight and dedication, MVL’s Power of Attorney Clinic received the 2016 DBA Outstanding Program of the Year Award. The Power of Attorney Clinic assists low-income seniors by helping them complete advance planning documents for free. This, in turn, relieves qualifying individuals of the cost, worry and burden that can arise without these incapacity documents. As a result, families of low-income seniors are able to live worry-free in case their loved one can no longer understand or communicate.
The genius of MVL’s Power of Attorney Clinic lies in its simplicity. MVL typically coordinates the clinics with senior centers and has them promote two dates. The first session educates attendees on powers of attorney and living wills. The presentation is usually given by elder law attorney John Hershey. Hershey delivers his presentation in an approachable and straightforward manner. He explains to his audience the necessity of having advance planning documents, as well as the clinic’s overarching procedures. Hershey next fields questions from the group in the same down-to-earth manner that he used during his presentation. The last item on the agenda for the day is the scheduling of appointments for the second workshop.
The following week, a second workshop is given at the same location. To maintain confidentiality, each participant is assigned his or her own attorney. Upon arrival, each attendee completes a brief intake, and both attorney and client sign a Limited Client Agreement. The client, with the help and assistance of an MVL volunteer attorney, fills out and completes a financial power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, and a living will. Because clients have been previously educated on these documents, the attorney’s role is significantly reduced. After the client and attorney have finished drafting the documents, they are signed, witnessed and notarized. The client leaves the clinic with his or her financial and medical powers of attorney, a living will, and a CBA “So Now You’re an Agent” brochure to give to the agent.
MVL Power of Attorney Clinics are scheduled each month at various senior centers that need this sort of help. The Power of Attorney Clinics needs your help too! The clinic requires approximately 20 volunteer attorneys. There are currently 10 attorneys who consistently volunteer. This is a great opportunity to lend a helping hand to your community while networking with other attorneys and clocking pro bono hours.
For more information and to volunteer, contact MVL Director Toni-Anne Dasent at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul Miller is a sole practitioner whose firm specializes in estate planning, nonprofits and small business law. He can be reached at email@example.com. This post originally appeared in The Docket.