This article originally appeared in the February 2021 issue of North Carolina Lawyer Magazine. Read the complete article written by Russell Rawlings and view all NC Lawyer issues at ncbar.org/nc-lawyer.
The 14th annual 4ALL Statewide Service Day of the North Carolina Bar Foundation will go on as scheduled on Friday, March 5, in spite of COVID-19.
It will definitely not be the same, but in many important ways, it will be better, thanks to an app that will allow North Carolina attorneys to participate from anywhere in the state.
Or the world for that matter.
The Telzio app has already been put to test as the centerpiece of last year’s COVID-19 Legal Hotlines. Alicia Edwards, co-chair of this year’s 4ALL Statewide Service Day Committee, gave the app high marks for its performance during the Triad-area hotline.
“I did not get a lot of calls,” said Edwards, “because the calls kept getting picked up by other volunteers. But I used the app, and getting the calls through was easy and it worked fine. I think it will work great for 4ALL.
“The only thing that will put a damper on this year’s 4ALL will be missing out on the social aspects of the event – the camaraderie. But in terms of people calling in, I don’t think there will be any lag or difference in the service being provided.”
Providing service to the public, added the longtime Legal Aid of North Carolina attorney, is key.
“It will be a lot different,” Edwards said, “but people just have these questions, and they need answers, or they just want to talk. This is such a valuable service we can do to answer these questions, and most of them are quick questions that they are not going to hire an attorney for.”
Edwards has been a 4ALL volunteer throughout the event’s rich history, working as a “floater” by being on call to help with questions potentially involving the services of a legal aid provider.
“I love it,” Edwards said. “It is similar to what we do every day at Legal Aid, but it allows us to reach a broader network by partnering with private attorneys. It is just a fun day.”