The legal needs of older Kentuckians

The following letter and report on the legal needs of older Kentuckians came to me via David Godfrey, a Louisville Law graduate who is now working as managing attorney at the Access to Justice Foundation in Lexington:

Dean Chen:

Attached is the final report of a study of the legal needs of older Kentuckians that we conducted this year. We had several law students volunteer through the public service program interview seniors in the community to collect data for this study. Because of my limited budget, I could not have completed this study without the help of volunteers.

This report marks the beginning of a three year collaborative project between the Kentucky Department of Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) and the Access to Justice Foundation, Legal HelpLine for Older Kentuckians. This work is made possible by a Federal Model Approaches to Legal Services Development grant awarded to Kentucky by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging. I believe that the fact that this study was well underway when we applied for this grant played an important role in securing 1 of only 7 new Model Approaches grants funded by AoA this year. The Model Approaches grant will bring $300,000 in federal funding into Kentucky to improve access to free legal help by Kentucky Seniors over three years.

The goal of the Model Approaches project is to improve access to legal assistance by persons age 60 and over in Kentucky by better understanding; the needs of seniors, the capacity of the legal service delivery system, and the legal issues of aging. Under this grant we will work to integrate access to legal assistance into the services offered by the developing Aging and Disability Resource Markets in Kentucky.

The Public Service program at U of L is responsible for my career in public interest elder law. I spent the summer between my first and second year of law school volunteering under the wing of an elder law attorney at Legal Aid of the Bluegrass. She helped me connect with this opportunity and I have been here since the Monday after my last law school exam, 8 years ago last May. With this grant I have three years of work to do improving access to legal help by older Kentuckians. Keep up the good work at U of L.



David and I invite you to download the "Legal Needs" study. I congratulate David on this accomplishment and am delighted to treat this development as a feather in our Law School's cap.