Take a look in the News & Record’s Local News section each Sunday and you will see a new program of the Greensboro Bar Association. It’s a regularly-featured column called “Ask-A-Lawyer.”
The column is the brain-child of News & Record editor John Robinson, who announced the new column in August. “If you have a question about the law and your rights, this is the place to come -- well, unless you want to spend your money for a personal consultation with a lawyer. Ours is free,” Robinson wrote in his light-hearted announcement. “Don't worry -- even though I spent the night in a Holiday Inn last night, I'm not going to answer the questions. Members of the Greensboro Bar Association will.”
Richard Gabriel of Gabriel, Berry & Weston is heading up the project for the Bar Association. “It’s a good way for us to get our name out there and offer responses to questions from the public about the law,” Gabriel said. “I enjoy doing these things, and there is real interest from the general public.”
Gabriel coordinates with Robinson on the questions. “We screen the questions to make sure they are appropriate,” Gabriel said. “Some questions are a little too detailed and complex, the type of questions that call out for a 20 page legal brief.” He then forwards the questions to members of the Bar Association who have expressed an interest in helping with this project. The lawyer then writes a brief response, which is returned to Gabriel for publication in the newspaper.
The Bar Association is looking for volunteers who are interested in supporting this initiative, and Gabriel asks that any interested members contact him.
The News & Record is happy with the response it has received from the public so far. “We've gotten 21 questions, not counting the half dozen we've gotten from people in jail looking for help with their cases,“ Robinson wrote the week after the column was first announced. “They're good ones, too, all about Social Security, homeowners' rights, unemployment claims, child custody and even whether it's legal to drive wheelchairs on city streets. In any case, I'd say we have a winner and the first column hasn't even been published yet.”