Local law firms provide free legal form clinics

ST. GEORGE – Three local law firms are offering a biweekly program designed to help individuals navigate the confounding world and language of legal forms.

Paralegal Deb Calegory said the Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP) was designed to help individuals receive free aid and procedural advice concerning the completion and filing of online legal documents.

The program is primarily aimed at those individuals who do not qualify for free legal assistance, and yet cannot afford that legal assistance otherwise. It also caters to people who do not own a computer or have internet access at home.

“It gives them a place they can [file papers],” Calegory said.

Calegory said the program was barely a month old and was connected with the Southern Utah Community Legal Center, which opened on Oct. 1. The OCAP was originally housed in the Community Legal Center, but size has necessitated a move to the Washington County Recorder’s Office (87 N. 200 E. #101 in St. George).

Thus far, the only online court documents available are divorce papers. Calegory said the firms involved with the OCAP do not condone divorce, but do realize it is a sad reality.

As the program gains more traction and expands, Calegory said aid with additional court documents may be available to the public.

The OPAC is currently staffed by four paralegals from different firms in southern Utah. While they cannot offer legal advice, they will be able to help people with the procedural ends of filling out and filing court papers. However, if legal advice is needed, the paralegals will be able to recommend people look into the free Talk to A Lawyer Clinic, an associate program also offered through the Southern Utah Community Legal Center.

Law firms involved with the OCAP include Durham Jones and Pinegar, Snow Jensen and Reece, and Clarkson Draper and Deckstrom.

“It’s not a one-man show,” Calegory said.

The OPAC is held twice monthly on the first and third Wednesdays of the month from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Anyone interested in scheduling an appointment or learning more about the program can call the Southern Utah Community Legal Center at 435-628-1604, extension 3662. The Center is located at 229 E. St. George Blvd. #103 in St. George.

mkessler@stgnews.com

Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

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