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Call-in program offers free legal advice under joint effort by state bar association and WGGB-TV

Foreclosure, wrongful job termination, confusing contracts or harassment from a neighbor are just a few of the legal issues that residents face today, problems that tend to be made all the worse by the current economic climate.

To help people wrestling with such legal concerns, the Massachusetts Bar Association and WGGB-TV, the Springfield station that broadcasts abc40 and Fox 6, have joined forces to offer a free program next week called “Your Money Monday: Lawyers on the Line.” The program, which will feature a phone call-in for people with legal questions, will take place Monday from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

“The biggest issue for most folks when they have a legal problem is figuring out where to go,” said Jennifer Rosinski, public relations and marketing manager for the MBA. The association sponsors “Dial a Lawyer” programs throughout the year in other forms, but this is its first partnership with WGGB-TV. In the past, the association has received 300 to 400 calls in one evening.

WGGB-TV approached the association to partner for the weekly program, which helps viewers with topics ranging from taxes to unclaimed money. In an interview Monday at WGGB offices, Dave Madsen, news anchor and managing editor for abc40 and Fox 6, described the response to the program as “overwhelming.”

Madsen said he believes that it is good to use the airtime to help viewers. “Folks in many instances might be afraid to do this on their own,” he said.

People seeking legal advice through “Your Money Monday” can call 413-846-0240. Normal telephone charges will apply. The phones will be staffed by eight volunteer MBA attorneys, who will provide free legal advice. The calls will be anonymous.

“No legal problem is too big or too small,” said Rosinski. She explains that attorneys try to help callers determine if a legal problem exists, if they need to hire an attorney, where to go, and the status of their legal problem.

While volunteer lawyers field calls, MBA representatives will also discuss key legal issues during the newscast with Keith A. Minoff, a lead attorney at the MBA who heads his own firm in Springfield. Minoff will discuss the MBA’s public service programs, its lawyer referral service and its efforts to lobby for adequate funding for the state’s court system.

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