Firm offers free legal advice to people with disabilities

By Eric Beesley

DeKALB | People with disabilities sometimes seek legal advice that they can’t afford which leaves them in a tight spot.

Attorney Gary Reese of Reese & Reese Law Firm will be offering free legal advice to RAMP consumers and other people with disabilities.

On Thursday, Feb. 24 beginning at 9 a.m. in the Winnebago County RAMP office at 202 Market St. in Rockford, Reese will be meeting with people to schedule an appointment, according to a press release from RAMP.

RAMP is a non-profit organization that works with people who have disabilities desiring to live a useful and rewarding life. They strive to help people with disabilities realize that there are no limits to what they can do, according to the press release.

“This is the first time we have done this in about a year because of low turnout, but if more interest is shown we would do it on a more regular basis in the future,” said Jackie Nieman of the human resource department at RAMP.

Reese will cover general information like what type of lawyer they may need to contact, if they need help in dealing with a landlord, and other things of that nature, Nieman said.

“Topics that will be covered are any legal questions, civil or criminal, information on wills, estate planning, power of attorney, and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Karen Hansen, Information and Referral specialist at RAMP. They won’t be answering questions about securities or divorce and will be meeting with each person for 15 minutes at a time, Hansen said.

“This is mainly for parents of students with disabilities and their educators,” said Connie Kraft, the parent mentor with Freeport School District and RAMP. “It is meant for people of all disabilities including cognitive, developmental, deaf, blind, speech, and physical.”

RAMP is able to accomplish their goals by assisting these people to live independently, make changes in their lives, seek peer support, gain resources and remove all barriers that threaten their independence, according to the press release. They also strive to improve existing systems and laws for persons with disabilities while working to eliminate negative attitudes towards them.