Free bi-monthly legal clinics in Guerneville
A series of “Self – Help legal clinics” dealing with a variety of law-related topics, hosted by legal professionals and free to the public are being offered every other Thursday at Fife Creek Commons in Guerneville.
The grant’s availability was discovered by paralegal Mara Zaharin and was written by grant writer Toni Novak. The source of the grant is the Russian River Community Trust Fund, which is supported by the Sonoma County Community Foundation. The clinics are an outgrowth of similar clinics Novak and Zaharin collaborated on in years past in Santa Rosa.
A Guerneville resident whose family has been coming to the River since the 50’s, Zaharin is a fifth-generation San Franciscan and received her Paralegal from Sonoma State University in 2009. She connected with Novak while looking for experience in the legal field while attending S.S.U.
The foundation awards grants to non-profit organizations serving communities along the western end of the Russian River. This includes all Russian River communities from Forestville west to the ocean. Their current assets of over $130 million are held in over 450 charitable funds created by individuals, families, community groups and businesses. Since its inception in 1983, the Sonoma County Community Foundation and its donors have awarded $116 million in grants. The Trust primarily awards grants for capital projects, equipment purchases or projects of a one-time nature.
Receiving the grant (which can’t exceed $5000) allows Zaharin to hold the bi-monthly clinics for a year. Among the topics that will be covered are family law, bankruptcy, debt, collection, wills/trusts, juvenile law, employment law, Criminal Expungement and drivers license retrival. The people with the legal expertise to run each clinic were contacted by Novak.
The next clinic scheduled is:
Expunging Criminal Records and Misdemeanor Issues and will be overseen by Santa Rosa attorney, Kevin McConnell.
When: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., December 20
The 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. sessions will all be held in the Community Room at Fife Creek Commons, the new residential complex on Fifth and Church Streets in Guerneville.