There was a time when lawyers in a community would come together to help a colleague when disaster struck. As our numbers have grown, in many places relationships have grown less personal. Yet at heart we still want to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers and to provide the assistance we can when bad things happen to good people in our professional community. Now we have a way to leverage technology and a vast network of contacts to help others.
All members of the State Bar of Georgia are invited to participate in SOLACE, a program of the State Bar of Georgia designed to assist any member of the legal community (lawyers, judges, law office and court staff, law students and their families) in Georgia who suffer serious loss to a sudden catastrophic event, injury or illness.
SOLACE will send participants one to two emails per month. Anyone can opt out of emails at any time by following “unsubscribe” directions at the bottom of any email.
Needs addressed by the SOLACE program can range from unique medical conditions requiring specialized referrals to a fire loss requiring help with clothing, food or housing. Some other examples of assistance include gift cards, food, meals, a rare blood type donation, assistance with transportation in a medical crisis or building a wheelchair ramp in a residence.
SOLACE originated with the Louisiana Bar and is an acronym for "Support of Lawyers, All Concern Encouraged." The Georgia SOLACE program is chaired by former State Bar President Ken Shigley. Requests for assistance should be sent by email to SOLACE@gabar.org.
Upon receipt of a request for assistance, the program is implemented by an e-mail alert notification requesting assistance sent to all participating State Bar of Georgia members, and others who request to be on the distribution list, e.g., paralegals, office staff, court staff, etc.
SOLACE program volunteers will work with the person in need, families or close acquaintances to craft an appropriate e-mail requesting practical assistance, with sensitivity and confidentiality being paramount concerns. In the event the person in need is not capable, a close personal relation willing to help is identified to whom responses will be sent.
SOLACE will not seek cash contributions, offer the opportunity for public service announcements or generate a prayer chain or list, and it will not operate as an employment recruitment service, though it may convey information about participatory events sponsored by others to benefit members of the legal community and their family members in crisis.
Anyone desiring to make donations of any kind may, when appropriate, be given directions on how to donate to the person in need or their representative. Any unsolicited cash donations voluntarily made by donors shall be made payable and submitted directly to the person in need or to their representative. Unsolicited cash donations that are made payable to and received by the State Bar of Georgia but are intended to be provided to a particular person in need will be returned to the donor with directions as to where donations should be sent. Any other cash donations received by the State Bar of Georgia as a result of the SOLACE program shall be held in a separate SOLACE fund.