Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago
Marie is 72 years old. She wanted legal advice about putting her affairs in order, including preparing advanced directives and a will, but living on a fixed income, she could not afford a private attorney. Marie turned to social workers at the North Shore Senior Citizen Center for help and they referred her to the North Shore Senior Center/Legal Assistance Foundation Legal Clinic.
At her appointment, Marie met volunteer attorney Jody Segalla. With an extensive background in estate planning, Jody was able to conduct an estate planning session and advise Marie on her options. Together, Marie and Jody determined that a simple will and a power of attorney addressed her financial and health concerns. Jody was able to draft the necessary documents for Marie. After executing the documents, Marie expressed a great sense of relief that her affairs were in order. She also appreciated the efforts made by Jody in providing free legal services.
“[Segalla] was very gracious and patient…She took the time to answer my questions and make sure I understood everything…I just thought it was wonderful,” Marie said.
For Segalla, participating in the legal clinic was a return to familiar territory. She served nine years in the Air Force as active-duty J.A.G. (member of “Judge Advocates General Corps) and provided free legal services to active duty members of the military and retired military personnel. She found her previous military experience to be helpful in assisting senior clients at the legal clinic.
“I’ve always liked helping older people, that’s why i am in estate planning. There isn’t a client [at the legal clinic] that I didn’t enjoy meeting and talking to…While not every case is enjoyable, looking at the bigger picture, it is rewarding on a professional and personal note.”