News Release

For Immediate Release


Gala Reception Honoring Judge Norm Spellberg (ret.) for His Lifelong Contributions to the Legal Community Supports Reconstitution of Elder Law Center

MARTINEZ, CALIFORNIA, October 26, 2010 — Relief is in sight for victims of elder financial abuse who saw a vital resource vanish when John F. Kennedy University ("JFKU") announced earlier this year that it could no longer sustain its popular Elder Law Clinic due to budgetary constraints. The reconstituted Elder Law Center ("ELC") will be a service provided to the community by The Law Center ("TLC") with the support of the Contra Costa County Bar Association ("CCCBA"). The program will be a resource for Contra Costa County residents who are 65 years of age or older who are victims of financial abuse and need pro bono representation.

In support of the ELC, the Contra Costa legal community will gather to honor one of its champions, the Hon. Norm Spellberg (ret.). In addition, the event celebrates the generous contributions of Archer Norris; Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook; Nevin, Ramos & Steele; CCCBA's Conservatorship, Guardianship, Probate and Trust section, Real Estate section, and Women's section, as well as those of numerous other attorneys, law firms, and organizations committed to continuing the important work of the ELC.

What: Gala Reception in support of the Elder Law Center, celebrating retired Judge Norm Spellberg

When: Thursday, November 4, 2010, 5:30 – 7:30pm

Where: Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts at 1601 Civic Drive in downtown Walnut Creek

The ELC program was originally established by John F. Kennedy University ("JFKU") as the Elder Law Clinic and was under the direction of Virginia M. George. In 2010, some five years after the inception of the program, JFKU determined that it could no longer sustain the Clinic and closed the program as it was originally designed.

CCCBA President Ron Mullin rallied the Contra Costa legal community to provide a solution. The non-profit TLC, in collaboration with the CCCBA, is committed to continuing the work of the ELC. As evidenced by the statistics of the California Department of Aging and JFKU's program, there is a clear and growing need for these services and to let this program close could prove to be disastrous to the increasing senior populations.

The California Department of Aging projects that there are approximately 203,146 citizens in Contra Costa County who are 60 years or older. The fastest growing segment of the population in Contra Costa County is the 85+ age group. Over the next 10 years, this group is predicted to skyrocket by 55%. The 65+ age group is expected to increase by 37%.

Since day one, the Elder Law Clinic exceeded all initial expectations as to the number of clients served, telephone calls for assistance, and hours worked for all attorneys and law clerks. In the end, the clinic at JFKU represented 570 seniors throughout Contra Costa, Alameda, and Solano Counties. Additionally, the staff and law clerks of the ELC participated in over 100 educational presentations throughout Contra Costa County alone.

The reconstituted ELC program will continue this important work. In addition to having a staff attorney handling pro bono cases and referring overflow cases to the ELC pro bono panel, the ELC will work in collaboration with the CCCBA Lawyer Referral & Information Service ("LRIS") and CCCBA Moderate Means Program ("MMP") to provide services to those elders who are in need of services and are able to afford legal services at standard, market rates (LRIS) or at a reduced rate (MMP). Additionally, because the need for elder legal services is so phenomenal, the ELC is also dedicated to proactively combating elder financial abuse by educating the public and co-sponsoring workshops.

The Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to offering support in matters of the law, the legal community and the judicial system. Trusted since 1934, the CCCBA serves thousands of legal professionals and members of the community each year.

Contact Lisa Reep
(925) 686-6900

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