Category Archives: Pro Bono

Forks Veterans Stand Down 2014

There is a need for volunteers at the Veterans Stand Down in Forks on May 1st from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The event requires at least 3-4 volunteers. The time can be done in shifts if needed. This is a big event and the presence of the legal community is expected.

Please contact Shauna (probonolawyers@gmail.com) ASAP if you can volunteer your time and talents for this worthy cause.

Law at the Landing

I am pleased to announce that our first ever Law at the Landing legal clinic was a rousing success. Our nine volunteer attorneys served 22 people who were very much in need of legal assistance.

People began arriving at 11:20 a.m. for the noon start time and the last person helped left at 3:15. Many people commented on what a great and needed program this was for the county and we were all thanked profusely.

Those attorneys who volunteered their time and made this event successful were:

Harry Jackson
Rod Tulloch
Kristina Nelson-Gross
Anne DeVoe
Lane Wolfley
Derek Medina
Kristin Glenn
Will Payne

A special thank you goes to Shauna Rogers at Pro Bono Lawyers. Shauna made sure all the materials (pens, paper, water) and legal information binders were available. She came early to help set up tables and chairs. She ‘manned’ the registration desk, provided brochures and business cards and helped keep the masses (and the attorneys) organized. Her work prior to the clinic needs to be recognized as well. She worked long hours preparing the helpful binders, talking to people on the phone about the event and making sure it was well advertised in local news outlets. She was great!

Project Homeless Connect: Thoughts on listening and connecting for “relational professionals”

Some of you know I have been working on developing an updated client-centered counseling model for lawyers based on Interpersonal Neurobiology (which involves the marriage of neuroscience and psychology). I think of lawyers as relational professionals, who share the same skills of listening and connecting with all other relational professionals. Helping the homeless population can be challenging, in part because they are a vulnerable population whose needs include heightened listening skills by people seeking to offer them help, so I thought would share some thoughts on the difficult art of listening and relationship building.

First, I want to share a brand new research study on an aspect of the homeless population’s needs. The study highlights how relationship betrayal by a caregiver, or someone close, can be more detrimental than other types of trauma for the homeless population. The study found a connection between people who experienced relationship betrayal, such as by family members, and the first onset of homelessness, and also with increased overall adverse outcomes. In other words, people who experienced strong relationship betrayal in their youth were more likely to have many problems in life and were more likely to experience homelessness earlier than other homeless people. (The cite and abstract for those interested are below.)

When we think of ourselves as “relational professionals,” seeking to help our clients with the strength of our relationship and ability to connect through listening, studies like this emphasize how important “relationship” is. A vast amount of other research also tells us, as we might guess, that “relationship” strength is intimately connected with how we connect, listen to, understand, and reflect back to the client what it is they are experiencing.

And universally, research also tells us that listening and understanding are some of the hardest parts of what relational professionals do. Here are some neuroscience based suggestions for how can we can optimize our listening.

Listening seems to involve not just hearing but seven core concepts; caring about what and how someone is perceiving; slowing down and seeking to observe what they think and see; standing beside them and making an effort through curiosity to explore their experience of the world with them; while remaining open to their experience without issue spotting or analyzing before we have heard all they want to offer; so we can accept their experience and not allow our experience to cause us to judge or jump to fixing the problem; and so we can reflect and fully restate what is being said as well as or better than the other person. A final core concept is being aware of nonverbal communications, such as through body language, use of words or aspects missing from the narrative. Perhaps a better word for listening is attuning to the other in order to truly understand and learn from them, free from the inherent way, or bias, in how we process information.

These seven concepts seem to be at the heart of all of the many listening and mindfulness theories we might already be familiar with. They spell out the acronym COCOA, and represent the warm engine of how we can listen and connect. Each concept in COCOA can involve other concepts.

Caring involves empathy, sympathy, compassion, kindness, warmth, and taking delight in the other or at least having positive regard. In part, these are drives within ourselves which we can foster to help us understand another. Ask: “How do they feel? How am I feeling interacting with them? Am I attracted or repulsed and why? Can I see their humanity? How can I “come along aside” them warmly?”

Observing involves paying attention and being present, being a witness to all of the words and absence of words, story components, and nonverbal communications, and pausing to take all in before moving towards evaluation. Ask: “Am I talking or observing? Am I moving towards judgment before seeing all that the other person is offering?”

Curiosity involves asking open-ended questions with a drive to recognize and seek new information, gaining insight about and understand the other and how we may be missing something or misperceiving. It is part of how we stand next to someone and examine things with them in a neutral way. Ask: “What are they seeing? Why are they saying that? Can I make sense of what this beautiful person is saying?”

Openness involves a mental state of being present and nonjudgmental so your view of the world does not hinder understanding the client’s view of the world. Openness encourages us to detach from our own experience so we can receive in the other’s life experience, and to pause before moving to the analysis phase of our work. Representing the homeless population gives us an excellent opportunity to practice our skill of understanding a completely different life experience. Ask: “Am I fully present in the moment of listening to the client’s story? Am I inserting my own experience and values into the client’s story and understanding of the world? Am I jumping to conclusions before I have taken all of the other in?”

Accepting involves the act of receiving what openness will allow you to hear, and fully experiencing what is offered, while free from our own internal evaluation and judgment without the activities of issue spotting and problem solving. It involves non-reactivity, or at least an awareness, regulation, and acceptance of our internal reactive feelings. Ask: “Am I receiving all that they are conveying? How is my interaction making me feel and are my feelings impacting my listening and thinking? Am I issue spotting before I have heard all the client wants to tell me?”

Reflecting involves both internal and external process of compassionately restating and/or summarizing what you think you have observed and received, primarily using the other’s words. You can use micro-expressions (like “uh huh” or even facial expressions showing understanding or agreement), macro-reflections (short summaries of a few words or a sentence) or larger summaries before moving on to exploring issues. Ask: “Can I recognize and re-state what they are feeling and saying? How do I feel? Let me see if I understand you?”

NonVerbal communication describes the vast majority of how humans convey information. The homeless population, again, gives us an excellent opportunity to test our skills in observing body language, things not said, and things said without clarity. Nonverbal communicate usually gives us clues to what may be important. If a hint is given, the client may want you to explore it. If an issue is left off the table, there may good psychological reasons why the client needs it to stay off the table. Understanding the difference is a high art.

Communication and listening involve great skill and practice. Project Homeless Connect gives us a chance to offer a rare gift to a person fighting to meet their most basic needs, and also a rare opportunity for relational professionals to test and practice their skills. For me, I will have COCOA RNV etched in my mind and I will use it as a touchstone to check in with myself to see if there is something else I can change in myself to better understand, connect with, and find ways to help the client move past the problems in their lives.

Warm regards to all,
Mark Baumann
360-452-8688

*****
Betrayal Trauma Among Homeless Adults: Associations With Revictimization, Psychological Well Being, and Health, Mackelprang, J. L., Klest, B., Najmabadi, S. J., Valley Gray, S., Gonzalez, E. A., Cash, R. E., J Interpers Violence April 2014 vol. 29 no. 6 1028 1049.

Jessica L. Mackelprang, Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center/Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Patricia Bracelin Steel Memorial Building, 401 Broadway, 4th Floor, Seattle, WA 98122, USA. Email: jlmack11@uw.edu
Abstract

Betrayal trauma theory postulates that traumas perpetrated by a caregiver or close other are more detrimental to mental health functioning than are traumatic experiences in which the victim is not affiliated closely with the perpetrator. This study is the first to examine the concept of betrayal among a sample of individuals with a history of homelessness. A total of 95 homeless or formerly homeless adults completed the Brief Betrayal Trauma Survey, the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder ChecklistBCivilian Version, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale the Perceived Stress Scale, and a demographics questionnaire assessing participants= histories of homelessness, health, and relationships with their families. Regression analyses were conducted to explore the associations between high betrayal (HB) and low betrayal (LB) trauma exposure, relationship with family, and physical and mental health symptoms. Exposure to HB traumas in childhood and poor family relationships predicted earlier age at first episode of homelessness, and participants who had been exposed to a greater number of traumas during childhood were more likely to be revictimized during adulthood. Trauma exposure as an adult and earlier age of first homeless episode predicted symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, while trauma exposure alone predicted symptoms of depression and perceived stress. Number of medical diagnoses was associated with trauma exposure and becoming homeless at an older age. These findings emphasize that even among the most marginalized and multiply victimized individuals in our society, traumas that are characterized by a higher degree of betrayal are associated with more adverse outcomes.

Project Homeless Connect 2014

Project Homeless Connect, 2014, is looking for lawyers and legal staff to provide help at this event, to be held March 7, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Vern Burton Center in Port Angeles. If you are interested, please contact Amanda at the Law Office of Mark Baumann to coordinate times.

In years past, legal issues and needs have not been complex, involve mostly listening and providing some advice in some cases, and have covered all the typical “personal law” issues, such as family, criminal, expungement, landlord-tenant, probate, estate planning, foreclosure, entitlement law, and general court room and legal procedures.

There will be a counseling area, an intake desk staffed by assistants, a printer, and access to a laptop and forms.

Contact (replace -at- with @) office-at-markbaumann.com, or call Amanda at 360-452-8688

Editors note: The Clallam-Jefferson County Pro Bono Lawyers nonprofit corporation,  will not be involved in this event this year. We hope they will be able to participate next year.

Law at the Landing

Presented by Clallam-Jefferson County ProBono Lawyers

When: Saturday March 8, June 7, September 6, December 6, 2014. 12pm-3pm.

Where: Landing Mall, 115 E. Railroad Ave., Port Angeles, WA

Free drop-in legal advice clinic, open to the public, one on one consultation with an attorney.

Questions regarding: child support, dissolution, custody, landlord/tenant, domestic violence, public assistance, creditor/bankruptcy, wills & estate planning, employment.

Call 360.504.2422 for more information or email probonolawyers@gmail.com

Healthy Families Golf Tournament Benefit

Help victims of domestic violence and sexaul assault by playing golf at Cedars At Dungeness Golf Course.

Date:                   July 27, 2013
Location:             Cedars At Dungeness Golf Course
Time:                  1:30PM Shotgun Start
Format:               4 Person Scramble
Cost:                   $90 (Non Dungeness Members)
Dungeness Member (Check with Pro Shop)
Cost Includes:   Golf Cart, Box Lunch, winner prizes, awards ceremony with
hors d’oeuvres.

Click on the brochure below for more details

HFCC First Annual Golf Tournament

Giving is good: Project Homeless Connect 2013

Giving is good. It releases endorphin, makes us feel better, helps us overcome the stresses of our profession, and strengthens the neural networks in our brains that relate to flexible thinking, emotion regulation, empathy, and more. Project Homeless Connect (PHC) is a wonderful opportunity for giving. PHC is a joint project by Serenity House and Clallam County Health and Human Services. The Clallam County Pro Bono Lawyers will host a booth with private consultation areas.

You may be wondering, “how can a lawyer help homeless people?” These folks generally don’t need extensive legal advice. Often what is more important for them is that they have an opportunity to be heard by a professional that cares. Many homeless people have unresolved loss and trauma. Research now tells us that loss and trauma are far more damaging if they are unresolved. This leads to impediments to the various regions of the brain achieving an integrated status. Things like problem solving and engaging in healthy relationships are difficult if not impossible to achieve when the brain is unintegrated.

For sure, some people at PHC need legal triage, have specific questions and/or need direction to further services. But most simply need someone to listen to them, someone to hear their story, and let them know they are not crazy in their perception that the system can be difficult. The most important things a lawyer can provide is an act of empathy and an act of respect for the client’s feelings. These small acts can go a long way for PHC client’s in their struggles with feelings of helplessness.

Even if you don’t know anything about landlord-tenant, mortgage, family, disability, employment, criminal, entitlement law, or about mediation or courtroom procedures, you can make a valuable contribution listening and/or screening.

In previous years, people seeking services at the event exceeded 300. For those of you who may need to print out documents a printer will be provided and online forms will be available. Attached is an Advice and Consult Agreement that may be used so you can clearly limit your consultation to the event. To contribute your time, simply contact Nancy at Pro Bono, or email probonolawyers@gmail.com, or contact my assistant, Emily Qualls, who will help staff the booth.

Advice and Consult Agreement homeless connect event

Mark Baumann
360-452-8688
Mark@markbaumann.com

Northwest Justice Survey

The Northwest Justice Project (NJP) seeks your input on how best to use our very limited resources to meet the critical legal needs of our low-income community. We, like you, must ensure that our limited resources are targeted to the greatest needs of our client populations, including needs that underlie the legal problems that we work on. Importantly, we want to ensure that we are aware of the comprehensive needs of low-income persons in our community, including problems that result from issues and/or barriers our clients or you as service providers encounter when interacting with the very systems that are designed to help.

NJP’s mission is to secure justice through high quality legal advocacy that promotes the long-term well-being of low-income individuals, families and communities in Washington. Please help us accomplish this mission and determine how best to maximize our resources for the best outcomes by taking just a few minutes to complete an on-line survey at the below link. Hopefully, you will find the link easy to use. Brief instructions on how to complete the survey are included at the link. If the on-line survey proves problematic for you, please let me know and I will make sure you receive a hard copy of the survey to complete. Thank you in advance for the valuable role you play in our community and for helping NJP with this critically important effort.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N6H3DYL

Sincerely,

Steve Robins
Attorney at Law
360-452-9137 ext. 204
stever@nwjustice.org

Project Homeless Connect 2012

The 3rd Annual Project Homeless Connect will take place on March 30, 2012, and volunteer attorneys are being sought to provide services.

PHC 2012 will be from 9:00am – 3:00pm at the Vern Burton Center, Port Angeles, Washington.

Get more information and updates at:
https://www.facebook.com/ClallamCountyPHC 308 E 4th Street

To offer your pro bono volunteer services contact Nancy Rohde at pro bono, 417-0818 or probonolawyers@gmail.com.

In prior years lawyers have provided legal service in the areas of family law, landlord-tenant, social security, criminal, estate planning, personal injury, employment, mediation and courtroom procedures  and government services.

For more information about Project Homeless Connect, call Glenda Coleman at 360-460-5903, or type homeless connect in the search box above and press enter to see posts about legal services at PHC in previous years.

Mark Baumann

 

 

CCBA 2011 Holiday Party

CCBA 2011 Holiday Party

Thursday, December 15, 2011 • 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Red Lion Hotel
Waterfront Lounge

Appetizer Buffet
No Host Bar
Guests are Welcome

Please RSVP by December 12th

In leiu of a cover charge, please bring a new toy, game, coloring book, or article of children’s clothing to donate to Clallam Jefferson County Pro Bono Lawyers. All items collected will be distributed to children who accompany their parents or guardians to consultations at the Pro Bono office.

Angeles Mediation Pro Bono Domestic Violence Mediation Project

Announcement:
Angeles Mediation Pro Bono Domestic Violence Mediation Project

Mark Baumann, JD, Rachel Hardies, MA, and Angeles Mediation, will be operating a pro bono Domestic Violence Mediation Project to help low income families who have had allegations or a history of domestic violence resolve conflict through mediation. Domestic violence may involve physical and/or emotional abuse, and/or may be perceived as a “high conflict” case. These are difficult cases that require special handling and attention, particularly to both parties needs and safety.

The interdisciplinary DV Mediation Project is an access to justice oriented project, offering people of modest means an alternative to litigation that may also offer a more effective method of managing entrenched conflict patterns. Part of the purpose of the project is to develop and report on effective mediation techniques for domestic violence situations.

The DV Mediation Project encourages attorney and advocate participation and the development of safety plans. Attorneys and advocates interested in participating in the Project may contact Mark Baumann or Nancy Rohde, and are encouraged to attend the Quileute Tribe’s unique DV training opportunity by the Southwest Center for Law and Policy in La Push on June 28 and 29. (This training is free and offers CLE credit. For more information see http://clallamcountybar.com/2011/06/03/842/)

Referrals to the DV Mediation Project will only be accepted from professionals, including lawyers, therapists and advocates. Parties interested in mediation services should ask professionals they are working with for a referral, and/or call Healthy Families for advocate and safety planning services in this or any DV situation. If you are interesting in contributing to the project, as a volunteer mediator, advocate, advisor, counselor, educator, concept developer, or otherwise, please call for more information.

Mark Baumann
360-452-8688

Rachel Hardies
360-670-2336

Healthy Families, 360-452-2381