J. Reuben Clark Law Society

Brazil Northeast Chapter Again Leads Out in Service

We conducted a volunteer pro bono service project on May 31, 2014, a Saturday, from 8:30 am to 12 noon, to assist approximately eighty senior citizens with law-related issues.  These were residents of ILPI - Santa Rita, a long-stay institution for the elderly, in the city of Paulista, Pernambuco, Brazil.  All were unable to afford attorneys' fees. 
This historic project was undertaken in partnership with the Pernambuco State prosecutor, through the 3rd Prosecutor's Office of Citizenship Paulista.  [Note from Greg Clark, Brazil Areal Legal Counsel:  The Public Prosecutor had previously reviewed and approved of the questionnaire to be used with these elderly folks, and such questionnaire will be used by state authorities to assist the elderly in other parts of the state.  This questionnaire, developed by Aroldo, will become a blessing in the lives of many elderly folks in the State of Pernambuco.]

The objective of the project was to individually interview each senior citizen, using the approved questionnaire which we had prepared, in order to identify:
  1. The existence of possible “Crime of Abandonment” by family members;
  2. The possible occurrence of the “Crime of Appropriation” and/or misuse of assets, earnings, pension, or any other income of the elderly;
  3. The need to initiate a legal process of “Action for Food” for the elderly (i.e., a legal process against children to obligate them to provide food for their parents); and
  4. The possibility of finding “Administrative Offenses” made by the ILPI managing board (to see if management or staff of the assisted living facility is abusing or otherwise taking advantage of the elderly under their care).
At the end of our specialized service, we were rewarded by the gratitude of the elderly, for being remembered, heard, and legally instructed by members of the Law Society.  We also received recognition from the Public Prosecutor for our pioneering effort in "legal mapping" of the elderly in the State of Pernambuco.  This "mapping" has enabled the prosecutor's office to identify possible crimes and to begin assistance for these people. 
The members of our chapter learned the importance of donating goods, time, and talents for the benefit of needy elderly people who need legal assistance, the privilege of putting into action the primary mission of J. Reuben Clark Law Society (i.e., to serve others), and the blessing of helping to make significant changes in the lives those around us.

By Aroldo Cavalcante , Brazil Northeast Chapter Chair

Posted: July 9, 2014