Finding Low Cost Legal Services in Difficult Financial Times
We receive numerous calls and e-mails from people in the midst of serious legal issues who are unprepared for, or unwilling to undertake, the expense involved in hiring a lawyer. For example, a trainer could be faced with a lawsuit arising out of a sales agency. An individual horse owner might want to “free-lease” her gelding to a friend and want a contract that protects her as much as possible in the situation.
How can people who cannot afford a lawyer seek legal services at low, or no cost?
Here are a few examples:
Court-Appointed Counsel (Criminal Defense)
People are entitled to receive a court-appointed and court-paid lawyer in some criminal matters. By comparison, in civil matters (where, typically, money is at stake as opposed to jail time), no such guarantee exists.
Legal Aid Clinics
You might be eligible for free or reduced cost legal services through legal aid programs in your area. Eligibility varies, and you will be asked to provide information about your income, expenses, financial needs, and family size. For information about legal aid programs in your state, check the Legal Services Corporation website. Even if you qualify for this assistance, keep in mind, however, that recent economic conditions have found legal aid organizations facing unprecedented demand. Many have been forced to prioritize legal matters and, with reduced budgets, are almost exclusively devoted to helping people with significant family issues such as evictions, divorces, and child custody matters. People who call legal aid organizations with equine and animal-related legal matters might find that the assistance simply cannot be provided.
Legal Clinics at Law Schools
According to one website, 165 law schools in the United States offer or have offered animal law courses. The possibility exists that law schools offering this coursework might even have programs offering animal-related legal aid clinics for people in the community. Contact a law school in your area to inquire.
Bar Association Animal Law Organizations
Bar association Animal Law Sections are becoming common nationwide. For example, animal law sections can be found in Washington and Michigan. Some of these bar associations have lawyer referral programs. Some offer community outreach programs that provide free or low-cost services on certain types of animal-related legal matters. Find out whether a law school in your state has an Animal Law committee or organization.
Hiring a lawyer is a very important decision. The internet may be an excellent source of information on qualified lawyers. The internet can also offer information on the law, but it is not a substitute for a lawyer.
Julie Fershtman is considered to be one of the nation's leading attorneys in the field of equine law. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 400 published articles, three books, and has lectured at seminars, conventions, and conferences in 29 states on issues involving law, liability, risk management, and insurance. For more information, please also visit www.fershtmanlaw.com and www.equinelaw.net, and www.equinelaw.info.View All Posts by Author ›
Our Equine law blog (and its author) in the news!
Julie Fershtman, author of our popular and prolific Equine Law Blog, was interviewed by the State Bar of Michigan. The interview, which called Fershtman "Lawyer-Blogger," discussed our Equine Law Blog. We truly believe that this blog is the nation's most active blog serving the equine industry on equine law topics, and we thank you for visiting it. Read more here.
Julie Fershtman’s Recent and Upcoming Equine Law Speaking Engagements Include:
National Conference on Equine Law in Louisville, Kentucky on April 29, 2020. Topic will be on Waivers/Releases of Liability Involving Minor Participants.
U.S. Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado on December 10, 2019. Topic will be on Equine Liability.
IRMI Emmett J. Vaughan Agribusiness Conference (“AgriCon”) in Sacramento, CA (April 2019), and Richmond, VA (June 2019) and in Des Moines, IA (September 2019), on topics of “Equine Activity Liability Acts” and “Equine Mortality Insurance Disputes.”
National Conference on Equine Law in May 2019 in Lexington, KY, on the topic of “Equine Activity Liability Act Updates” and liabilities involving hosting of equine clinics.
Agricultural Claims Conference in Kansas City, MO, in March 2019 on topics of “Loose Livestock Liabilities.”
2018 American Bar Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, on “Equine Mortality Coverage and Disputes.”
November 2018, American Horse Council webinar on “Equine Liability.”
Honors & Recognitions
Equine lawyer, Julie Fershtman, has received these prestigious equine industry awards from respected equine organizations:
"Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award" - American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Law Section Animal Law Committee
"Distinguished Service Award" - American Youth Horse Council
"Industry Service Award" - Michigan Equine Partnership
"Catalyst Award"- Michigan Horse Council
"Outstanding Achievement Award" - American Riding Instructors Association
"Partner in Safety Award" - American Riding Instructors Association
"Associate Service Award" - United Professional Horseman's Association
"National Partnership in Safety" Award" - Certified Horsemanship Association
What our Equine Law Services can Provide
Handling breach of contract, fraud/ misrepresentation, commercial code, and other claims involving equine-related transactions including purchases/sales, leases, mare leases/foal transfers, and partnerships.
Litigating disputes in court or through alternative dispute resolution (arbitration, mediation, facilitation).
Defending equine/farm/equestrian industry professionals, businesses, and associations in personal injury claims and lawsuits.
Drafting and negotiating contracts for boarding, training, sales, waivers/releases, leases, and numerous other equine-related transactions.
Representing and advising insurers on coverage and policy language as well as litigation;
Advising equine industry clubs and associations regarding management, rules, bylaws, disputes, and regulations.
Representing some of the equine industry's top trainers, competitors, stables, and associations.
Counseling industry professionals, stable managers, and individual horse owners.
THE NATION'S MOST SOUGHT-AFTER EQUINE LAW SPEAKER
Did you know Julie Fershtman has spoken at the American Horse Council Annual Meeting, Equine Affaire, Midwest Horse Fair, Equitana USA, US Dressage Federation Annual Meeting, North American Riding for the Handicapped (now PATH International) Annual Meeting, American Morgan Horse Association Annual Meeting, American Paint Horse Association Annual Meeting, US Pony Clubs, Inc.'s Annual Meeting, All-American Quarter Horse Congress, American Youth Horse Council Annual Meeting, American Riding Instructors Association Annual Meeting, CHA Annual Meeting, and numerous others? Consider signing her up for your convention. Contact Julie.
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