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Community News: Southwest

WEST ADAMS : An Opportunity to Learn the Law

June 27, 1993|JAKE DOHERTY

Thanks to recent "Law Talk" seminars sponsored by a number of legal associations, about 100 Los Angeles residents are better prepared for the legal skirmishes of modern life.

The free seminars, conducted on three Saturdays this month at the Golden State Mutual Life Building, covered a wide range of topics, including small-business ownership, insurance, divorce and property rights, family law, tenant and landlord rights, small claims courts and consumer rights.

"There's an enormous amount of ignorance about the law among all kinds of people," said Harvey I. Saferstein, president of the State Bar, a sponsor of the seminars. "We're trying to bridge that gap a little and teach people about their legal rights."

Hector Honorato, a West Adams resident who attended all three seminars, said he was thankful for the free education and now considers himself "a mini-lawyer."

"I learned about the little things they put at the bottom (of contracts)," he said. "It's very important for people to learn about the law, especially about their rights."

Salvador Alva, a lawyer who conducted the session on the rights of landlords and tenants, said the average person is a poor consumer of legal services, often hiring a lawyer without an interview. People need to know their legal rights and responsibilities, but they also need to know when to hire a lawyer to help them, he said.

Saferstein said the State Bar plans more community seminars this summer and would like to schedule them on a regular basis.

The "Law Talk" textbook contains sections in English, Chinese, Spanish and Korean. Translators were provided for each of the seminars.

The main sponsors of the seminar were the State Bar and Public Counsel, a public interest law office. Also helping to organize the seminars were the Black Women Lawyers of Los Angeles, the Korean American Bar, the John Langston Bar, the Mexican American Bar and the Southern California Chinese Lawyers associations.

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