Generous donations keep no-cost legal program going strong
By Michael Clark
Did you know that Clark County has a trusted resource for senior citizens’ legal services? The Southern Nevada Senior Law Program provides free, quality legal services to county residents who are age 60+. They are the only free legal service provider in Clark County that exclusively assists senior citizens.
You may know them as the former City of Las Vegas Senior Citizens Law Project. The Law Project was sponsored by The City of Las Vegas since 1978 and unfortunately, in July of this year, the City had to withdraw its financial support due to the economic decline. Determined to continue this valuable program and with the support of the senior and legal community, The Law Project transitioned from a government program to a free standing non profit entity on July 1, 2012.
Legal advocacy/assistance services are available in civil areas of law including simple wills, long-term health care planning issues, consumer disputes and small claims instructions, intervention in elder abuse, landlord/tenant and mobile home problems, homesteads, social security problems and other government benefits problems. The Southern Nevada Senior Law Program also helps with preparation of documents for handling medical/legal issues in the event that the client is unable to do so.
The dynamic force behind the law program is Executive Director Sugar Vogel. Ms. Vogel began as a part time attorney in 1984. Over the years Vogel’s responsibilities grew as the senior law program expanded its scope of service. There are now 7 full-time attorneys, a number that includes both Ms. Vogel and her Deputy Director, Elana Graham.
“We work with our senior clients patiently and sensitively to ease their fears and resolve their legal problems,” Ms. Vogel explains. As an example of the personal, rewarding experience involving older people, Vogel remembered, “Mary and Tom had been married for 53 years and led a happy, relatively quiet life. They were devastated when Tom was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. This was the biggest challenge they had faced in all their years together.
“They felt lost and alone but knew they needed to prepare for the future.” A Senior Law Program attorney patiently answered their questions and explained options. She guided them through completing their Powers of Attorney for Healthcare, Directives to Physician and wills giving them peace in knowing their wishes were documented.
“Seven months later, Mary returned to us as a widow,” she recalled. “She tearfully told us how we had made a traumatic time more manageable and how grateful she was for our help. Since the assistance we had given the couple had been so valuable, she hoped we could help her move forward on her own.” After that, the attorney helped Mary update her will and re-title her home. “Mary was assured that we will always be here to help her in times of need.”
Although legal services are provided at no cost, the program gratefully accepts donations. “we have several grants and other sources of income,” Ms. Vogel announced, “but very often it’s the individual donor who keeps us going. Our goal is to continue to provide these important free legal services to the senior community and grow this program to meet the increasing needs of seniors and they meet the challenges of aging.
Because the Southern Nevada Senior Law Program is a 501 c 3 non-profit, all contributions are tax deductible. Even a very small donation is welcome. Interest parties can mail a check to SNSLP 310 S. 9th St. 2nd floor Las Vegas, NV 89101.
For more information please call (702) 229-6596