FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 30, 2002
CONTACT: Janet S. Eveleth, (410) 685-7878 or (800) 492-1964

VOLUNTEER ATTORNEYS OFFER FREE LEGAL ADVICE
TO VICTIMS OF TRAIN ACCIDENT IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY

To assist victims of the July 29th train accident in Montgomery County Maryland, volunteer attorneys from the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) are offering free legal advice through a special toll free hotline. Victims of this disaster may call 1-866-858-0039 and speak with a volunteer attorney for help with all legal matters resulting from this serious train accident.

MSBA has activated this toll free legal disaster hotline, a component of its Mass Disaster Plan, to offer legal information and guidance to victims and their families. Attorneys from MSBA's Young Lawyers Section have volunteered to operate the hotline and help those victims in need of legal advice. Victims are encouraged to call 1-866-858-0039.

Working with the media, MSBA hopes to widely publicize this legal disaster toll free number. This hotline is a public service and no referrals for legal service will be given, nor can the attorneys answering the phone accept disaster cases.

MSBA wants to advise the public that Maryland lawyers are restricted from engaging in face to face solicitation of a client, without prior request from that client, or engaging in that conduct through another person. Violations of these rules are a matter of serious concern to the lawyers in your community, and violations of these rules should be reported to the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission at (800) 492-1660.

During this, or any other crisis, a lawyer may provide meaningful assistance to victims, families and others associated with the tragedy. But, the choice of that lawyer, and the decision as to whether or not to use that lawyer, should be the client's alone. Selecting an attorney always requires thought and care, and no one should be rushed, or pressured, into this decision.

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