Western Mass. Dial-A-Lawyer helps 328 people get answers to their legal questions

Thursday, May. 23, 2013
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Volunteer lawyers participate in the semi-annual Western Mass. Dial-A-Lawyer Program on Tuesday, May 21. Photos by Liz Kennedy.

On Tuesday, May 21, the Massachusetts Bar Association gathered lawyers at Western New England School of Law to field calls from residents across the region. Attorney members from the Hampden Country and Hampshire County Bars were among the 31 attorneys present.

As soon as the phones went "live," calls began pouring in on a wide range of topics, from neighborhood disputes to probate issues, divorce to bankruptcy questions. One topic that came up frequently dealt with the inability to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy.  Attorney Stephen Phillips of Dunn & Phillips in Springfield said he fielded several calls on this topic from recent college graduates. Elizabeth Katz, president of the Hampshire County Bar Association and an attorney at Ostrander Law Office in Northampton, talked to people on a broad range of legal issues, including wills, elder law, divorce, child support and bankruptcy.

Over the course of the four-hour Dial-A-Lawyer Program, approximately 328 people were able to speak with attorneys.

"Given the number of calls, it's apparent that there is an unmet need for free legal advice. Our Dial-A-Lawyer Program is an excellent opportunity for legal professionals to give back to the communities in which they live and work," said Elizabeth O'Neil, MBA director of community and public services.

The MBA's Dial-A-Lawyer Program hosts monthly call-in programs in the Boston area, biannual call-in programs in Western Massachusetts and ad hoc programs when the need arises.

The MBA thanks the following attorneys who participated in the May 21 Western Mass. Dial-A-Lawyer Program:

  • Jeffrey M. Burstein, Burstein Law Offices, Springfield
  • Corey M. Carvalho, UMASS Legal Services, Amherst
  • Kevin Christanthopoulos, Robinson & Donovan PC, Springfield
  • Mark David Cress, Bulkley, Richardson & Gelinas LLP, Springfield
  • Leslie A. Curley, Berkshire Mediation Group, Pittsfield
  • Hyman G. Darling, Bacon Wilson PC, Springfield
  • Mary K. Eaton, Eaton & Rescia LLP, East Longmeadow
  • Michele Feinstein, Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin PC, Springfield
  • Theresa S. Finnegan, Hampden County Sheriff's Department, Springfield
  • Stephanie Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald Attorneys at Law PC, East Longmeadow
  • Elizabeth D. Katz, Ostrander Law Office, Northampton
  • Kelly A. Koch, Bulkley, Richardson & Gelinas LLP, Springfield
  • Stephen R. Manning, Stephen R. Manning, PC, East Longmeadow
  • Carolyn L. McCaffrey, McCaffrey Law Firm PC, Enfield, CT
  • Amy J. Megliola, Siddall & Siddall PC, Springfield
  • Susan A. Mielnikowski, Cooley Shrair PC, Springfield
  • Francis K. Morris, Law Office of Francis K. Morris, Brookline
  • Timothy F. Murphy, Skoler Abbott & Presser PC, Springfield
  • Stephen J. Phillips, Dunn & Phillips PC, Springfield
  • Christine M. Pikula, Edward M. Pikula-Attorney at Law, Springfield
  • Edward M. Pikula, Edward M. Pikula-Attorney at Law, Springfield
  • Andrea R. Reid, Reid & Gaudet Law Group LLP, Springfield
  • Timothy A. Reilly, Law Office of Timothy A. Reilly, Springfield
  • Daniel Mark Rothschild, Bulkley, Richardson & Gelinas LLP, Springfield
  • Denise M. Shear, Ostrander Law Office, Northampton
  • Michael Siddall, Siddall & Siddall PC, Springfield
  • Gillian Szlachetka Dubay, Szlachetka Dubay PC, Chicopee
  • Peggy A. Torello, Peggy A. Torello, Attorney at Law, Greenfield
  • Dennis E. Tully, Attorney at Law, East Longmeadow
  • Diana S. Velez Harris, Marien & Hodge, Springfield
  • Gregory A. Wolf, Law Office of Gregory A. Wolf Esq., Pittsfield