During the summer of 2004, our pastor was enjoying a visit with a Saint Mary’s parishioner who serves in our community as a practicing attorney. During the course of their visit, the attorney posed this question: “Father, I want to give something back to Saint Mary’s. What can I do?”
The search for an answer to his question led to an innovative ministry at Saint Mary’s. Several attorneys in our parish joined efforts to form an Attorney Network for the benefit of Saint Mary’s parishioners. They agreed to consult with parishioners at no cost.
One day we may find ourselves in a situation with a need to confer with an attorney. Perhaps we’ll feel more comfortable talking to someone who calls Saint Mary’s their “home.” Here’s how it works:
- A parishioner will contact the Attorney Network with a telephone call to Linda in the Parish Office (219-663-0044).
- The parishioner will provide very limited identifying information: name, telephone number, and a very general description of their particular need (e.g., family law, estate law, criminal law).
- The Parish Office will circulate (via e-mail) the parishioner’s general need among all the attorneys in the Network. It should be noted that neither the parishioner’s name nor the parishioner’s telephone number will be circulated.
- If a Network Attorney is available to confer with the parishioner, the attorney will notify the Parish Office.
- The Parish Office will notify the parishioner that a Network Attorney is available for a consultation. The parishioner will be told how to contact the Network Attorney to arrange a consultation, either in person or otherwise, at no charge.
To the extent that the parishioner needs nothing more than some direction or a referral, then matters are concluded on a pro-bono basis (no cost). But if the matter requires more time than one consultation, the attorney and parishioner may discuss and agree on a fee structure.
We are grateful to attorney-parishioners who serve in the Attorney Network.
Attorneys who would like to learn more about participating in this innovative ministry outreach can direct their inquiry to the Parish Office (219-663-0044 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
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