Legal Services

Legal Hotline

What is the Legal Hotline?
The Legal Hotline provides free legal information, advice, and referral for residents of Ohio age 60 and over. The Legal Hotline responds to the legal needs of callers within Ohio regardless of income, resources or location.  Typical questions concern Medicare, Medicaid and Medicaid estate recovery, living wills, durable powers of attorney for health care, and consumer problems.  The Legal Hotline also acts as a gateway to other Pro Seniors programs, referring appropriate callers to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program or to Care Options.

How can I reach the Legal Hotline?
Telephone appointments for the Legal Hotline are made Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  In the Cincinnati area, you can call (513) 345-4160.  Outside the local calling area, you can reach the Legal Hotline toll-free at (800) 488-6070.  Click here for a National Senior Hotline Directory.

How does the Legal Hotline work?
When you call the Legal Hotline, you will initially talk with an intake worker.  The intake worker will gather basic information, such as name, address, birthdate, phone number, etc., and take down the general nature of your question or problem. Hotline attorneys use the information collected by the intake workers to return calls.

What if I require more than advice to solve my problem?
If you have a legal problem that cannot be solved over the phone, the Legal Hotline will try to refer you to an appropriate source for more in-depth assistance.  If you are in the five-county area around Cincinnati - Hamilton, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, and Warren counties - the Legal Hotline may refer you to a Pro Seniors staff attorney.  Pro Seniors staff attorneys handle problems that most private attorneys do not, such as problems involving Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, other government benefits, and protective services.  Pro Seniors may also refer you to a private attorney on the Hotline Referral Attorney Panel.

Hotline Referral

What is the Hotline Referral Attorney Panel?
Pro Seniors' Legal Hotline for Older Ohioans offers free legal advice to callers age 60 and older. While many problems can be solved over the phone, some cannot.  That's why the Hotline Referral Attorney Panel (HRAP) was created. HRAP assists callers who need more personal attention by referring them to an attorney who will handle their legal problems, usually at a fee they can afford.

The HRAP has attorneys throughout Ohio.  Many of the HRAP attorneys have agreed to accept cases from moderately low-income persons at an agreed-upon reduced fee, or in some instances, for free.  When appropriate, the Legal Hotline also refers clients to local legal aid offices and other community resources available to assist them.

I'm an attorney, how do I qualify?
  • Be, and continue to be, an attorney in good standing with the Supreme Court of Ohio;
  • Maintain an office separate and distinct from any other business or residence;
  • Be actively engaged in the private practice of law;
  • Carry, and continue to carry, professional liability insurance equivalent to at least $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 in the aggregate, which insurance is acceptable to Pro Seniors;
  • Represent clients in a professional and businesslike manner in all respects;
  • Meet the minimum CLE credits in areas of expertise indicated; and
  • Abide by HRAP rules and procedures.

How do I join the panel?
It's easy.  Mail the following to Pro Seniors:

  • your completed registration form (PDF);
  • the declarations page of your professional liability insurance; and
  • a check for $75 payable to "Pro Seniors, Inc."
  • The document above requires the free Adobe® Acrobat® Reader to view and print.

How does the panel work?
Referrals are made to attorneys in the order in which their names appear in the rotation system.  You will accept any referral for initial consultation except for those matters you indicated in your application that you are unwilling to handle.  However, if any referral creates a conflict of interest, you must advise the client to contact the HRAP coordinator for another referral.  Nothing herein may be construed to obligate you to accept employment beyond the initial consultation.  You must interview the client and, except in extraordinary situations, not refer the prospective client to another attorney.  If you deem the situation extraordinary, you must first obtain the HRAP's approval before referring the client to another attorney.  You can receive referrals either at an office location or by agreeing on the registration form to visit homebound clients in their homes.  Your relationship with a referred client reflects upon the HRAP and upon Pro Seniors.  That's why we ask you to be professional in every client contact, including, but not limited to, honoring all fee arrangements.

What are the benefits?
In addition to fee-paying clients, you gain the benefit of:
  • Legal Pamphlets: You can receive, at no charge, pamphlets prepared by Pro Seniors on areas of elder law. You can order any of the more than 45 additional pamphlets on legal and long-term care issues.
  • Elder Law Consultations: Call Pro Seniors' staff attorneys, who practice exclusively in elder law, for technical assistance on behalf of your HRAP referrals and non-HRAP clients.
  • Speaking Referrals: You can receive referrals to speak to older adult organizations in your geographic area. Indicate the topics you are able to cover on the registration form.
What are the Rules?
Panel members agree to:
  • Permit any dispute concerning fees arising from a referral to be submitted to binding arbitration by their local bar association;
  • Grant all clients referred by the HRAP an appointment as soon as practical after the referral is made;
  • Make no charge for the first 30 minutes of consultation at the initial meeting with the client;
  • Abide by all rules of the HRAP, and in no event to hold or claim to hold the HRAP, Pro Seniors, or any of its officers, members or employees liable for the operation of the HRAP, information contained in your application, or HRAP activities;
  • Complete and return HRAP referral reports as soon as possible and no later than the deadline given; and
  • Annually certify that you have not been suspended from the practice of law or found to be in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
  • Nothing herein requires you to violate the attorney-client privilege.
Failure to Comply with HRAP Rules
You may be denied registration or suspended from the panel for any of the following:
  • Failure to pay any fee due the HRAP;
  • Failure to send in any report due the HRAP;
  • Failure to carry the required liability insurance;
  • Submitting a registration form or making a report to the HRAP which is untrue in any aspect;
  • Failure to abide by the Ohio Code of Professional Responsibility;
  • Failure to abide by the HRAP fee schedule (if participating voluntarily in the reduced-fee or pro bono panels); or
  • Failure to maintain a proper office.

Fees
Membership: The annual membership fee is $75, payable to Pro Seniors, Inc.

Fee Sharing: If any attorney fees you receive from a full-fee or contingency-fee client referral is $100 or more, you must pay to Pro Seniors, Inc. 15% of that fee.  Payment is due to Pro Seniors within 30 days after receipt. This percentage of fee requirement lasts as long as you continue to receive fees on a referred case.

Client Fees: You can choose to receive one or more of these fee types:  full fee, reduced fee, contingency fee and/or pro bono clients.  Download the separate reduced fee schedule form (PDF) for details.  Remember, you must agree to provide the initial half-hour of consultation at no cost.  Please note that the income from the percentage fee you pay Pro Seniors is used to pay the reasonable operating costs of the HRAP and to fund public service activities of the HRAP or Pro Seniors.

Volunteer Opportunities
If you're an attorney in Greater Cincinnati, Pro Seniors can use your help.  Volunteer at the hotline and learn more about the growing field of elder law. Interested attorneys should contact the Volunteer Coordinator at (513) 345-4160.

Other Ways to Help
Even if you can't accept referrals right now, you can still support the hotline by making a tax-deductible contribution to Pro Seniors.  When you make a contribution equal to your hourly billing rate, you're entitled to the pamphlets and all other support that referral attorneys receive.

 

 


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