The Legal Aid Society of Rochester has closed its physical offices because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but staffers want the public to know the agency is still available to help clients.
The offices in the Telesca Center for Justice, at 1 W. Main St., are closed and the court system is only hearing emergency cases, but the Legal Aid Society’s programs and services are open.
“We are committed to doing our part to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of coronavirus while also providing full and meaningful access to justice, to counsel, and the court system,” said Carla Palumbo, president and CEO of the Legal Aid Society of Rochester.
Initially, there was a brief slowdown in calls from clients after the offices were first closed.
“We noticed a slowdown for a half a second, but our intake line is still just as busy as it normally is, if not more,” said Krystal Bertrand, grants and communications administrator for the Legal Aid Society.
“What we’re most concerned about is that there’s still folks out there that have legal issues and we want to make sure that they know we are still available,” Bertrand said.
Specifically, the Legal Aid Society can help with:
- Advise (including immigrants) on domestic violence situations
- Consultations regarding questions or concerns about distance learning while schools are closed
- Emergency family offense petitions and temporary orders of protection
- Violations of a custody or visitation if the other parent refuses to return the child
- Emergency orders to show cause, including failure to pay support
- Applications addressing landlord lockouts
- Questions regarding COVID-19 response and the effect on immigration, immigrants and public charge and COVID-19 stimulus, and general immigration systems issues
- Advice on removal proceedings
- Advise for individuals seeking asylum
- DACA renewal applications
Staff attorneys and advocates can offer assistance remotely and help determine if a case requires court intervention. Anybody who needs legal services, or anyone with questions, can call (585) 232-4090.
“We also have a specific line for immigration clients, or folks who might be in need of immigration assistance because we know that’s an incredibly vulnerable population,” Bertrand said.
That separate line is (585) 295-5750.
For a complete list of services and more information about The Legal Aid Society of Rochester, visit https://www.lasroc.org/covid-19.