ON THE MOVE: Legal Community Creates Mutual Support Email Network
The State Bar of Georgia has created a new email networking program, SOLACE, to help anyone in the legal community facing a sudden, catastrophic event such as illness, injury or fire.
"We want to provide practical networking support to members of the legal community who find themselves in a family medical crisis or similarly difficult position," said Ken Shigley, the past president of the State Bar of Georgia, in an announcement. Shigley is the committee chairman for SOLACE, which is an acronym for "Support of Lawyers, All Concern Encouraged."
SOLACE is for lawyers, judges and employees of law firms, courthouses and bar associations—and their families. Assistance could be a medical referral to a specialist, transportation or housing during a family medical crisis, or food and clothing after a fire.
"In the past 20 years, I have spent weeks on several occasions at hospitals thousands of miles from home while family members were hospitalized in Boston, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. Based on that personal experience, I know how challenging that can be and how important networking can be to get through it," said Shigley.
Those in need can request help by emailing email@example.com. Confidentiality will be maintained, if so desired. A SOLACE volunteer will work with the person asking for help, or a representative, to write an email explaining the need. The request is then sent to members of the SOLACE email list. Those interested in helping can reply either to the requester or a designated contact person.
Shigley learned of the SOLACE program, which originated with the Louisiana Bar, when he met its co-founder, U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey of New Orleans, at a meeting of the National Council of State Bar Presidents in San Francisco. Louisiana's SOLACE program receives one or two requests per month.
SOLACE emails will go to State Bar members, but anyone in the legal community can ask to be added to the list. Recipients also can choose to unsubscribe.
"The SOLACE program is a way to facilitate our caring for each other, for being our brothers' and sisters' keepers," Shigley said.
The program's purpose is to tap into the legal community's contact network. It does not solicit cash contributions or offer employment assistance.
"I think it's a chance for lawyers to do what we do best, which is making connections to help other people solve problems," the current State Bar president, Charles Ruffin, said in the announcement.