An analysis of statistics shows that Filipino Americans make up 4% of the USA's registered nurses but have already accounted for about one-third of COVID-19 related nursing deaths since September 2020. In the events when they become incapacitated, there is still plenty of decisions to be made with regards to their healthcare. The Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago (FALA Chicago) hopes to make these notoriously difficult conversations easier for clients and their families.
FALA Chicago now expands its pro bono clinic, Attorneys Giving Legal Advice (AGiLA) to provide powers of attorney to healthcare frontliners and essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting this month, online appointments may be booked by signing up at falachicago.org/probono. There will also be in-person consultation and notary services every third Saturday of the month from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Instituto del Progreso Latino at 2520 S. Western Avenue in Chicago. Should the client require more complex estate planning counseling, FALA Chicago can refer attorneys with expert backgrounds in this area of law.
AGiLA was launched in partnership with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) in the spring of 2018, being the first and only pro bono legal clinic in the Midwest dedicated to delivering efficient legal aid to clients of limited means. Their powers of attorney campaign serves a direct recognition to the community’s healthcare population that was disproportionately impacted by the pandemic due to their significant presence in the field.
“The establishment of the AGiLA clinic three years ago enabled us to use our skills and expertise to help our own community members assert their rights in a legal system that is oftentimes costly to access and intimidating to navigate,” said FALA Chicago President Atty. Mark Calaguas. They strongly believe that this new powers of attorney initiative is a much needed addition to their current pro bono offerings. With many Filipinos sacrificing themselves in this fight against COVID-19, pursuing this initiative could help ease their way to get appropriate healthcare and provide them with some legal protection.
FALA Chicago is looking forward to roll out these services to further the National Filipino American Lawyers Association’s pro bono efforts. “We hope this launch can serve as a model for our fellow Filipino American bar organizations contemplating similar campaigns elsewhere across the country,” Atty. Calaguas added.
FALA Chicago extends their gratitude to the following community partners for their logistical and promotional support of the AGiLA powers of attorney program: Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE), Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, Dantes Law Firm, Instituto del Progreso Latino, Live Every Second (L.E.S.), Philippine Nurses Association of Illinois (PNAI), and Pilipino Unity for Progress (UniPro) – Chicago.