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Young lawyers to offer free legal services

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Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009

The Allegheny County Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division on Saturday will hold its first Pro Bono Day, offering free legal services to the public.

"We want to show there's a different side to attorneys than what people think they know," said Erin Boyts, a lawyer with K&L Gates LLP and president of the Young Lawyers Division. "I know there are attorney jokes and perceptions, but a lot of attorneys volunteer and give their time."

Boyts hopes to get about 150 young attorneys to volunteer and would like to see four times that many people from the community take part in the three programs.

People with low incomes can get help filing income tax returns through the "I CAN! E-file" program, which will be offered at the City-County Building, Downtown; the East Liberty Carnegie Library; and at Focus on Renewal in McKees Rocks. Tax advice will not be offered, but volunteers will help participants use Internet-based tax return programs. Registration is required.

Presentations on public assistance programs through the Department of Public Welfare will be open to anyone who cares to attend. The program will be offered at Just Harvest in the South Side in addition to the Downtown, East Liberty and McKees Rocks locations. Times will vary by location.

First responders serving the city of Pittsburgh can get help drafting wills through the "Wills for Heroes" program. Participants will receive notarized legal wills and power of attorney documents. Registration is required.

"They want to bring all these programs together," said Mark Martini, a lawyer with the Downtown firm Robb Leonard and Mulvihill and chairman of the Young Lawyers Division's 2009 Bar Leadership Initiative Class, which is heading the project. "They're not just focusing on one group, but they're trying to help as many people as possible for a one-day event."

For more information, registration and program times, call 888-443-4615.

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