By Tony Parra
Law Access New Mexico representatives are creating a push into Roosevelt County to try to help residents with low income receive free legal advice.
Kathleen Brockel, Executive Director of Law Access New Mexico, said the purpose of the trip to Portales is to create awareness to low-income residents in Roosevelt County of a free legal service through a state hotline, 1-800-340-9771.
Brockel said she met with Dolores Penrod of the Roosevelt County Democratic Women and Pilar Moreno, outreach coordinator of La Casa De Buena Salud in Portales, on Thursday to try to create awareness in Portales.
“It’s very much needed here,” Penrod said. “Pilar interacts with many people who could benefit from the service. They (La Casa employees) can make referrals to the service. People in this community need to know that this service is available.”
Brockel said that even though there are Roosevelt County residents who can’t afford an attorney, it doesn’t mean they can’t get legal advice.
Brockel is meeting with representatives from the Income Support Division, today. Brockel said she wanted to meet with representatives from agencies who deal with people who have low-income.
She said Roosevelt County ranked as one of the 16 lowest counties in New Mexico with calls for free legal advice from the agency, which is in its third year. Brockel said it is the first trip for an LANM agent to Portales. She said trips have already been made to Tucumcari and Santa Rosa and agents will make trips to Grants and Gallup.
Brockel said there are 10 attorneys living in Roosevelt County, according to the New Mexico State Bar Association, some of them are government attorneys.
“There are many private attorneys in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces,” Brockel said. “The courts also provide them with free legal services. We want to help those in rural areas who don’t have access to these services.”
Brockel said Law Access New Mexico attorneys give advice on issues such as divorces, tenant disputes with landlords, bankruptcies and creditors.
Brockel said many of the calls are regarding what paperwork people need to fill out to get a divorce or for custody or tenant issues with landlords. She said the hotline service is in English and in Spanish, and the service is available for undocumented residents.