Georgia Legal Services Program reaches out to the LGBTQ community

In 2012 a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) and LGBTQ-friendly lawyers and staff at Georgia Legal Services Program formed a task force to 139911281explore ways of reaching out to LGBTQ people in the rural parts of the state served by GLSP.  The LGBTQ Client Services and Outreach Committee works to develop outreach methods to ensure that LGBTQ applicants can access legal services and feel secure in reaching out to GLSP for quality legal assistance and representation.  We also work to develop and use legal theories ensuring equal justice for LGBTQ clients.

GLSP is a large statewide non-profit law firm that serves low-income marginalized people in rural and small town Georgia. Our mission is to provide access to justice and opportunities out of poverty for low-income Georgians. We are funded by the federal Legal Services Corporation and over 70 other sources to handle civil legal matters.  We know that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are an underserved minority throughout Georgia.  As studies indicate, rural LGBTQ Georgians are likely to be poor and are a natural fit for our services.

Since its inception, the Committee has implemented a three-pronged approach to reach the LGBTQ community in Georgia.  First, we work to make sure our program is welcoming to LGBTQ clients and that our staff provides quality legal assistance that is culturally sensitive and attuned to LGBTQ issues..  We do this through comprehensive in-house training and the implementation of policies that prohibit discrimination and encourage inclusiveness.   Second, we work to identify the population of potential LGBTQ clients in Georgia outside the five-county metro Atlanta area.  Our Committee is conducting surveys of our staff across the state to learn about local LGBTQ resources and potential partner agencies.  Additionally, the Committee is reaching out to state-level LGBTQ organizations to obtain their feedback and identify potential areas of collaboration. Third, we make it known in the gay communities of Georgia that we are available to help LGBTQ people with their civil legal issues.  GLSP is adding LGBTQ-friendly cues to its physical locations, websites, brochures and other media.  Our advocates will be creating additional programming such as legal clinics and community legal education for LGBTQ clients across the state, including targeted outreach to LGBTQ elders.

Access to justice is our mission.  Your trust is our goal.

To speak with a GLSP lawyer about LGBTQ client programming and services in your area, call 404-206-5175; 800-498-9469; or TDD 800-225-0056.

GLSP offers resources for GA lawyers whose clients need an interpreter in court

Georgia Legal Services Program has developed a special set of resources to help lawyers request interpreters in civil proceedings in Georgia.  The Georgia Supreme Court Committee promulgated rules on the use of interpreters for the hearing impaired and for people who have limited English proficiency.  The materials offered by GLSP include a motion for an interpreter, a brief in support of the motion, brief attachments and an order for an interpreter at no cost to the client.

You can access the interpreter materials here.

GLSP attorney Jana J. Edmondson authored a February 2013 Georgia Bar Journal article entitled, Working with an Interpreter: Providing Effective Communication and Ensuring Limited English Proficient Clients Have Meaningful Access to Justice.  The article reviews the legal authority for requiring interpreters in the legal context, the ethical obligation to communicate effectively with a client who speaks limited English and tips for working with interpreters.  Read the Georgia Bar Journal article on interpreters.

Celebrate Georgia’s Unsung Heroes for Justice on March 14

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Please join the Georgia Legal Services Program (GLSP) in honoring its 2012-13 Champions of Justice at a reception on March 14, 2013 at the State Bar of Georgia Conference Center.

A Champion of Justice acts as an ambassador for GLSP with the Bar and/or state and federal policymakers and/or the public at large and is recognized for achievements, contributions, or other services to GLSP and continuing service to the legal profession and the cause of justice.  Purchase your tickets now!

 


GLSP featured in technology story

Slate.com recently covered how technology is being used to help low-income households find access to justice.  Georgia Legal Services Program has been a leader in implementing technology tools to increase productivity and efficiency and to help connect with clients who have critical legal needs.  Check out the Slate.com article here to read about Georgia Legal Services Program: “Don’t Forget Your Court Date” – How text messages and other technology can give legal support to the poor.