Letter to the editor: Get free legal advice on MLK Jr. Day

“I’m calling my lawyer!” proclaims any television or movie character facing legal trouble. As if everybody has an attorney on speed dial. Or has an attorney. Or can afford one.

For many people, having a legal problem means facing that problem alone. And it can be hard to know where to start.

On Jan. 17, attorneys across the state will be giving Alaskans that start by offering free legal consultations in areas such as family law (child support, custody, divorce and guardianship), housing (eviction and foreclosure), public benefits (Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security), employment, personal injury, probate, estate planning, and Native allotments. Attorneys are offering these free legal consultations as part of the 13th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Legal Clinic, sponsored by the Alaska Bar Association, the Alaska Court System, and Alaska Legal Services Corporation.

Alaskans with legal problems have two ways to access free legal advice this Jan. 17. To schedule a live, confidential consultation with an attorney that day, register at bit.ly/akmlkday. Consultations will be provided over Zoom and are available from anywhere in the state between noon and 4 p.m. Additionally, Alaskans with low or moderate incomes can submit legal questions at alaska.freelegalanswers.org, a free virtual legal clinic available throughout the year.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Legal Clinic honors Dr. King’s spirit of service and advocacy for equality and social justice. By treating MLK Day as “A Day On, Not a Day Off,” more than 1,500 Alaska attorneys and volunteers have provided 6,600 hours of free legal service to more than 3,920 Alaskans.

Becky Kruse

Becky Kruse is an Administrative Law Judge with the Alaska Office of Administrative Hearings and chair of the Bar’s Pro Bono Service Committee.

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