Paul Rorie is a former Chair of the Community Outreach Section of the Long Beach Bar Association. Having previously held the position for several years, Paul was instrumental in running the LBBA's Help the Public program, where members of the bar provide free legal advice to self-represented litigants on a monthly basis at the Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse. Paul started volunteering with Help the Public in 2009, and received a commendation from the LBBA for his work that year. He has now assisted over a thousand self-represented litigants through Help the Public since that time. When he's not volunteering with the Bar, Paul operates a solo family law practice.
Help the Public was created as a way for self-represented litigants to obtain free legal assistance in many different areas of law, including Civil, Criminal, Landlord/Tenant, Immigration and Family Law matters, among others. Self-represented litigants usually find out about the Help the Public program through flyers at the Self-Help Center centers in Los Angeles County and referrals from Self-Help Center representatives.
The Help the Public program operates every third Tuesday of the month from 5:00pm-7:00pm in Department S-05 of the Long Beach Courthouse. Typically, 20-30 self-represented litigants sign-up to receive free legal advice each session. Attorneys meet with each self-represented litigant in an attorney-client conference room and discuss the details of their case.
Paul believes that meeting with self-represented litigants to discuss their case provides a unique challenge because there is often a broad range of topics discussed. For instance, an attorney like Paul might listen to cases involving family law and real estate, or a landlord-tenant and civil rights litigation issue, or a criminal and immigration matter, for example. If the matter is not one for which Paul feels comfortable providing advice, then he can defer to another colleague who might be at Help the Public on that day, or refer the litigant to the Long Beach Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service Program.
Often, a self-represented litigant requests advice on the legal process in general, and any assistance or guidance an attorney like Paul can provide at all is greatly appreciated. Many litigants need help just understanding the basics of the court system or the area of law of their case. Paul often hears questions as simple as, "How do I obtain copies of my husband’s bank accounts," which leads to a discussion of all different forms of discovery, or, "What evidence is needed in a civil harassment restraining order case," which leads to a discussion on the burden of proof and evidence. The questions span many different topics, and Paul believes that any information which helps a self-represented litigant is a service which benefits the litigant and our court system, as his information helps to move the case along through the court system.
It is for his ongoing service for years with members of the community through Help the Public that Paul Rorie has been recognized with one of two of the first Distinguished Service of the Year awards from the Long Beach Bar Association.