1 Awards of Achievement Cover Sheet Service to the Public Name of YLD Affiliate: GA - State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division Affiliate Type/Division: State Affiliate: 8000 or more How did you hear about the AOA program? YLD Website ORGANIZATION PROFILE Number of young lawyers in your affiliate: approximately 10,000 Is your organization affiliated with a senior bar? Yes If YES, is membership in your organization automatic? Yes If a state organization, are you voluntary or mandatory? Mandatory When does your fiscal year begin and end? July 1 - June 30 CHAIRPERSON/PRESIDENT OF AFFILIATE Name: Darrell Sutton Address: 351 Washington Avenue, Suite 300, Marietta, GA APPLICATION PREPARED BY (CONTACT PERSON) Name: Mary McAfee Address: 104 Marietta Street, NW, Suite 100, Atlanta, GA Phone:
2 AWARDS OF ACHIEVEMENT Program Information Form Service to the Public Name of YLD Affiliate: GA - State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division Project Title: YLD First Responders Wills Clinic Affiliate Type/Division: State Affiliate: 8000 or more Type of Project: Pro Bono Projects Degree of Change or Growth: New Project Project Description: The YLD First Responders Wills Clinic is a pro bono, all volunteer program designed to provide essential estate planning documents Last Will and Testament, Property Power of Attorney, and Advance Health Care Directive to first responders and their spouses at no cost. / / The program has been developed as a continuing statewide service project. Wills Clinic events are held in large cities and small towns across the state of Georgia. Prior to each Wills Clinic event, young lawyers from around the state are encouraged to volunteer their time, whether or not they have prior estate planning experience. / / After a community has been selected to host a Wills Clinic event, the project coordinator, the local YLD affiliate, and other active young lawyers are tasked with organizing and implementing the event. The YLD typically works with a liaison at the local Sheriff s Office, Police Department, Fire Department, and/or EMS Service Provider in order to advertise and provide event registration information to the local first responders. Simultaneously, the project coordinator works to recruit young lawyers through the local YLD affiliate, the local bar, and the state YLD attorney network. / / Approximately two weeks before a Wills Clinic event, participating first responders receive a packet of information from the project coordinator. In this mailing, the first responder is informed of their scheduled appointment time during the event. Along with a memorandum that describes the estate planning documents provided at the event, the mailing also contains a Participant Information Sheet and an estate planning questionnaire that assists the first responder in formulating a general estate plan. / / Before each Wills Clinic, the program organizers host a one to two hour tutorial on the basics of estate planning. In the tutorial, the organizers review the applicable law and go through the estate planning documents for each attorney volunteer. The organizers then discuss the logistics of the Wills Clinic event and field questions. / / On the day of the Wills Clinic event, the first responder participant is checked in at their scheduled appointment time and a volunteer attorney is paired with the first responder participant for an
3 initial intake meeting. After the initial meeting, the volunteer attorney inputs the first responder s personal estate planning information into pre-drafted form documents. The documents are explained to the first responder, and reviewed for accuracy. Afterwards, all documents are signed, witnessed, and notarized (Some attorney volunteers are assigned the task of witness and notary public). The first responder leaves the event with their original estate planning documents in hand. The YLD does not keep any of the documents and all files are deleted from the attorney volunteer s laptop. / / With the encouragement of YLD President, Darrell Sutton, two young lawyers, Katie Willett and Brandon Elijah, started organizing the program in July So far, the YLD First Responders Wills Clinic has held two successful events. The volunteer attorneys have drafted a total of 183 estate planning documents, and provided pro bono legal service to a total of 61 first responders and their spouses. The volunteer attorneys have also accumulated a total of pro bono hours. / / Three Wills Clinic events are scheduled to take place before the end of the year. / Needs Assessment: The attention of the Wills Clinic program organizers was brought into sharp focus by a tragic event in Arizona in June 2013, where 19 elite firefighters died in what was described as the worst wildfire since / / The program was developed out of concern and gratitude for Georgia s first responders and their families. Estate planning documents are especially important for first responders due to the nature of their jobs. But unfortunately, due to legal costs, the lack of information on the necessity of such documents, and perhaps a negative perception of the legal community as a whole, a significant percentage of first responders do not hire legal counsel to handle their estate planning. / / The Wills Clinic program is meant to alleviate this problem, and has been developed in an effort to show Georgia s first responders and their families that our state s legal community supports them and appreciates their service. Achievement of Goals: When the Wills Clinic program first began, there were five objectives: (1) To provide essential estate planning documents Last Will and Testament, Property Power of Attorney, and Advance Health Care Directive to first responders and their spouses at no cost; (2) To provide a supervised opportunity for young lawyers to engage in one-on-one client counseling and gain experience in drafting and executing simple estate planning documents; (3) To create and foster networking and/or business opportunities for volunteer attorneys and their local communities; (4) To establish a sustainable YLD community service project for future young lawyers; and (5) To strengthen the legal profession s reputation in the state. / If goals were not met, why? Even though the program has been met with success over the past six months, the YLD First Responders Wills Clinic is a newly formed program. In Augusta, GA, where the Wills Clinics have been held, all of the goals listed above have been met. As the program continues to expand throughout Georgia, the Wills Clinic will have a greater impact and thus a greater opportunity to meet all five goals on a larger scale. Will this be a recurring project? Yes
4 If Yes, will you make any revisions? The program organizers are working on two major revisions for the rest of the year: (1) Developing a CLE component to benefit volunteer attorneys; and (2) expansion of Wills Clinic event locations. / / In partnership with the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia ( ICLEGA ), the program organizers are developing a 1-hour webinar for participating volunteer attorneys. The content of the webinar will consist of an estate planning primer, explanation of the form documents, and a review of the logistics of the Wills Clinic event. The 1-hour webinar will count as one hour of CLE credit for each volunteer attorney. / / Currently, the past Wills Clinic events have been conducted in Augusta, Georgia. In conjunction with other members of the YLD, the program organizers are planning Wills Clinic events in and around Atlanta, and in Macon, Georgia. / / For the Macon, Georgia Wills Clinic, the organizers have reached out to Mercer University School of Law to invite Mercer Law students to attend the Wills Clinic and partner with an attorney volunteer for the entire process. This will allow law students an opportunity to witness real attorney-client interactions in the estate planning field of practice. Degree of Participation by Members How many young lawyer members actually participated in this project? How many young lawyer Leadership (officers, directors, board membership)? 3 How many young lawyer committee members? How many young lawyer general membership? 75 Was the project conducted with the Senior Bar? No What other groups or individuals participated and in what / numbers? Civic-minded volunteers from the community have participated as witnesses and notary public. / What do you think is the optimum amount of members needed to / carry out this project? This depends on the number of first responder participants registered at a Wills Clinic event. Smaller communities only require between 15 and 20 attorney volunteers, whereas larger communities may require anywhere from 30 to 40 attorney volunteers. Timeframe How much time did it take to organize the project? Each Wills Clinic event will take approximately 4-8 weeks to plan and implement. However, the planning for the first Wills Clinic event took approximately 4 months. It was necessary to coordinate with the YLD, draft estate planning form documents, and develop a detailed outline to plan and implement the first Wills Clinic event. /
5 How much time did it take to recruit members for the project? The recruitment phase of a Wills Clinic event typically occurs in the 30-day period leading up to the event. The objective is to have enough volunteer attorneys signed up to participate at least one week out from the event date. So far, there has been n How much time did it take to carry out the project from beginning / to end? The first Wills Clinic event required approximately 4 months to plan and implement. Budget What was the cost of this project excluding in-kind/donated / services? So far, the major cost for a Wills Clinic event is meeting space. For our first two events, the program organizers secured event space in Augusta, Georgia at the Augusta Marriott and The Partridge Inn. The rental cost for each space was approximately $1 How was the project funded? The event space rental cost was funded by the YLD as was the mailing expenses. How long did it take to raise the funds needed for this project? The program organizers have been able to secure in-kind donations for most of the program s needs (printers, paper, office supplies, laptops, etc.). However, as the program is developed in communities throughout Georgia, it will most likely take 6-8 week Suggestions/Recommendations What suggestions/recommendations would you make to other young / lawyer groups who would consider undertaking a similar project? Any young lawyer group interested in starting a similar project would greatly benefit from attending or reaching out to another similar project. This program s organizers attended a Wills Clinic in South Carolina and reached out to young lawyers conducting similar programs in three other states. The organizers were then able to determine what would work best for their program. / / Starting a Wills Clinic program from scratch required numerous steps, so creating checklists and timelines for meeting goals will prove beneficial. / / This program s organizers found it very helpful to establish a liaison within each first responder agency to aid in scheduling of appointment times as well as disseminating all relevant information. Moreover, it is critical that all agencies understand that this program is a pro bono service provided by your organization with no strings attached. / / The organizers also found it helpful to reach out to the local bar associations and YLD affiliates before scheduling a Wills Clinic in their area. Garnering the support of the local bar association and/or YLD affiliate is crucial as these connections may be beneficial in the planning process of
6 the Wills Clinic event. Should any issues arise concerning invasion of a local bar s territory, the organizers offered to provide local bar referral service handouts to any first responder who may have issues outside the scope of the Wills Clinic. The local bars have been gracious for the consideration. / / For any young lawyer group interested in starting a similar project, Katie Willett and Brandon Elijah are more than willing to discuss their experience in organizing this program.
7 Special Projects Wills Clinic: Young lawyers Brandon Elijah and Katie Willett created and implemented a Wills Clinic for First Responders. The first Wills Clinic was held on December 14, 2013 at the Augusta Marriott. Approximately 25 young lawyers from across the state provided simple estate planning for 40 of the Augusta area s first responders and their spouses (picture below), and prepared 120 estate planning documents for them. The second Wills Clinic was held on March 22, 2014 at the historic Partridge Inn in Augusta. Approximately 50 young lawyers from across the state provided simple estate planning for 21 Richmond and Columbia County Sheriff s deputies and their spouses (picture below), and prepared more than 63 estate planning documents for them. Through these two Wills Clinics, 75 Georgia young lawyers have contributed more than 220 pro bono hours preparing 183 estate planning documents for 61 of the state s first responders. These young lawyers have not only helped those whose job it is to put us first, but in the process gained invaluable first-hand estate planning experience. Young lawyer volunteers assist first responders in preparing wills at an event in Augusta on Dec. 14. Young lawyer volunteers assist first responders in preparing wills at an event in Augusta on March 21.