DES MOINES – The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday, April 17 issued a supervisory order expressing gratitude for the Iowa COVID-19 Legal Advice Hotline and strongly encouraging all Iowa lawyers to provide free or low-cost legal information and services either through the Legal Hotline or other options. The order temporarily changes Iowa Court Rules governing providing free and reduced-cost legal services in Iowa.
The Iowa State Bar Association, Iowa Legal Aid, and Polk County Volunteer Lawyers Project established the COVID-19 Legal Advice Hotline for Iowans to receive free or low-cost legal information and advice regarding legal issues arising due to COVID-19. Volunteer lawyers have received nearly 1,000 calls to the hotline.
“The Iowa Supreme Court recognizes and applauds the more than 100 Iowa lawyers who have volunteered to answer calls to the Hotline,” said Chief Justice Susan Christensen. “As Iowans’ need for legal information and services continues to grow, the Court strongly encourages each Iowa lawyer to volunteer. Everyone in the legal community has an interest and responsibility to ensure access to justice. Barriers undermine public trust and confidence in the courts.”
To enable more lawyers to volunteer during the pandemic, the supreme court is temporally allowing non-Iowa lawyers, enactive or retired attorneys, and house counsel to participate in the COVID 19 Legal Information Hotline.
The COVID 19 Legal Information Hotline is 1-800-332-0419 and operates between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Iowans experiencing a legal problem related to the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis, such as eviction, denial of unemployment benefits, employment issues or identity theft, may call the hotline. Callers will leave a message and Iowa Legal Aid staff will call them back. Those who meet Iowa Legal Aid’s eligibility guidelines will be connected with an Iowa Legal Aid attorney; those who are outside of Iowa Legal Aid’s eligibility guidelines will receive a call back from a volunteer attorney through The Iowa State Bar Association or the Polk County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project.