A Jewish Legal Aid program — a project developed by attorney Sam Saks through his Start Me Up! fellowship — is launching this month.

Jewish Legal Aid is intended to serve as a resource for the local Jewish community’s legal needs, according to Saks. Services will include free legal education programs and a free referral service designed to assist people in obtaining legal representation at discounted rates.

Although the primary focus is to assist members of the Jewish community, the service is open to the general public, he said.

Participating attorneys — licensed members in good standing with the Arizona State Bar — will provide a free initial consultation and extend a fee discount if they choose to represent an individual referred through Jewish Legal Aid.

The program will offer services in a variety of legal areas ranging from bankruptcy and unemployment to immigration and criminal matters. For more details, visit jewishlegalaid.com.

“Sam Saks is one of the most impressive young leaders in our community,” said Rabbi Darren Kleinberg, director of Valley Beit Midrash and the Start Me Up! Fellowship. “His latest project, which was developed during the past 18 months as a Valley Beit Midrash Start Me Up! fellow, is going to make a significant impact on our community.”

Start Me Up!, which was created to promote Jewish volunteer entrepreneurship, is a project of Valley Beit Midrash.

“Jewish Legal Aid is an amazing way to provide quality legal services for members of the community who might otherwise forgo competent legal representation because of financial constraints,” Kleinberg said. “This combination of Sam’s professional career as a lawyer with his commitment to volunteerism in the Jewish community is something we should all be inspired by.”

Saks, a partner at the law firm Cantelme & Brown PLC, is one of the youngest members of the State Bar of Arizona’s board of governors.

The idea for this program came out of the fellowship’s brainstorming sessions and workshops, Saks said, and he credits the formation of the project to conversations with Kleinberg and the other fellows.

Jewish Legal Aid will debut with a free two-hour training program for attorneys, in partnership with the Arizona Jewish Lawyers Association, of which Saks is a co-founder, and Council for Jews With Special Needs (CJSN). The program, “Guardianships Under Title 14,” will be presented on Feb. 12 by attorney Emily Kile, who will walk trainees through the process of applying for and obtaining guardianship.

Attorneys participating in the training program will have agreed to attend a free workshop on Feb. 24, also sponsored by the two groups, to assist families with children with special needs in making guardianship choices (see sidebar).

“This is an exciting collaboration between our two organizations,” Mark Bregman, CJSN president, wrote in an email. “This collaborative effort with Jewish Legal Aid will teach vital information about the legal needs of parents and caregivers and offer assistance in negotiating the perils of adult responsibility.” 



What: “Guardianships Under Title 14” attorney-training program presented by Emily Kile of the Kile Law Firm P.C.

When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12

Where: Dyer & Ferris LLC, 3411 N. Fifth Ave., Phoenix

Who: Arizona Jewish Lawyers Association, Jewish Legal Aid and Council for Jews With Special Needs

Register: Sam Saks, ssaks@cb-attorneys.com

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