As public interest attorneys, most of us understand the importance of a holistic approach to helping our clients.
Indeed, while a client may contact you for a specific problem, you might discover that they face a host of other issues. You may or may not feel comfortable advising them on those issues, depending on your familiarity with the topic – certainly, no attorney wants to give their client bad advice.
But what can you do short of investing a lot of time and resources into research?
The State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) website is a great place to start. The portion of the website aimed at consumers offers a variety of guides on the consumer issues our clients often face.
It is important to note these guides are not a substitute for legal advice, but could be a valuable tool in the hands of your client.
For example, there is a Landlord/Tenant Guide that answers commonly asked questions about landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities in simple language. The guide is intended to help landlords and tenants avoid common problems and resolve them when they do occur.
There is a Senior Guide, which has long been a trusted source of information on consumer issues and scams the state’s elderly residents face. It also includes information on general consumer protection topics.
While a wide range of subjects are covered in the guides, it is important to note that the content in each topic section is adapted from a longer, more comprehensive DATCP fact sheet. Those fact sheets are always available on the DATCP website in the Consumer Fact Sheets section.
Of course, another great option is the Public Interest Law Section! Members should always feel comfortable reaching out to their colleagues to ask questions or brainstorm ideas. And PILS also makes it our goal to offer low-cost CLEs on a variety of topical issues.