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January 19, 2013 Legal Clinic by Bryan Ramos

Last week I was speaking with a family friend about my desire to attend law school. She mentioned to me an organization called “Lawyers to the Rescue”. Interested, I did a quick Google search, found the website, and called Dina Aronfeld. She called me back and informed me of a legal clinic taking place on Saturday at Camillus House.

I arrived at Camillus House at 10:00 A.M. The situation was a bit chaotic until all of the legal clinic participants arrived. Then, as if mandated by some sort of natural law, a type of organization began to emerge almost instantaneously. Amidst all of the hustle and bustle of names being called out and papers being exchanged, it suddenly occurred what was really going on: these attorneys and volunteers were willingly sacrificing their Saturday morning in order to assist people who were in dire need and had no one else to turn to.

After order was established and the majority of the clients were either being helped or were waiting to speak to a specific attorney, I was allowed to sit in with Mr. Scott Kotler. After about three or four cases I told Mr. Kotler that I was surprised at how so little information or explanation could help the clients as much as it did. Mr. Kotler replied with something along the lines of: “We may not be able to give them the answer that they seek, but we can at least point them in the right direction or have them leave the room with some ‘peace of mind'”. He explained that a lot of the people seeking legal help at Camillus House genuinely sought stability in their lives, but various legal issues posed as obstacles. He stated that helping those with legal problems is not just about “lawyering” or finding direct solutions to problems… it is also about humanity and keeping aware of the fact that these people are human beings with problems just like us. He added that “sometimes they just really need someone to earnestly listen to them for ten minutes”. What Mr. Kotler said left a significant impression on me. All of the Lawyers to the Rescue attorneys Chairman and Founder, Spencer Aronfeld, Board of Directors, Scott Kotler, Santiago Cueto, Marco Britt and Jessica Laleh went out of their way to help whoever needed aid.

Participating in the legal clinic was truly a memorable and significant experience for me. The amount of relief I saw in the faces of those being helped, as well as the passion exhibited by the Lawyers to the Rescue attorneys really inspired me to pursue a career in law in order to give back to my community and assist those in need. I would definitely enjoy participating in future legal clinics and I strongly believe that everyone could benefit from this experience.