By Jadranko Tomic-Bobas, Managing Hotline Attorney
The purpose of the John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award is “to foster awareness of the need for involvement of the private bar in delivering legal services to the poor, by giving public recognition each year to a Michigan lawyer who has made a significant pro bono contribution to this effort.” John W. Cummiskey is an advocate and activist in the effort of making legal services available to everyone, regardless of their income.
Charles David Jones (“David”) is a retired Administrative Law Judge who has been volunteering one to two days per week since April of 2013. David selflessly shares his time, knowledge, and expertise with the Elder Law of Michigan’s staff and clients. David’s commitment to justice has impacted numerous seniors.
Elder Law of Michigan is a private 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides, among other things, legal services to eligible persons, the majority of whom are seniors. Due to budget restrictions, the demand for legal services greatly outweighs current Elder Law of Michigan staff. In 2017, Elder Law of Michigan assisted over 4,700 clients, and many more have gone unassisted due to budget restrictions.
Most of the seniors Elder Law of Michigan assists do not have the means to pay for legal services. Without David’s service, these seniors may not have had access to any legal services. Getting legal advice from experienced attorneys on issues ranging from handling creditors, Medicaid/Medicare issues, and working out landlord/tenant issues empowers and improves seniors’ economic security, and provides them with much-needed peace of mind.