Article provided by the National Association of Senior Legal Hotlines
Shoshanna Ehrlich retired in 2015 from a twenty-five year career in legal hotlines. Her work was a unique three-dimensional journey viewed through the organizational, historical, and geographic aspects of legal hotline services. From 1989-1996, she worked at Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. (LSGMI) as a legal hotline attorney/ project director for the statewide senior legal hotline, and supervising attorney for their Elder Law Unit. From LSGMI Shoshanna went to the AARP Foundation, which recruited her to work on its Legal Hotline Technical Assistance Project, a national support center for legal hotline planners and managers. In 2009, the Legal Hotline Technical Assistance Project moved to Elder Law of Michigan’s Center for Elder Rights Advocacy, where Shoshanna was thrilled to continue her work with legal hotlines for another six years.
From a historical perspective Shoshanna was on the frontier of hotline operations, one of six initial senior legal hotlines operating at that time. Today there are statewide senior legal hotlines in a majority of states, telephone intake and advice is a widespread service at legal aid programs, and the power of hotline services has exploded along with the internet. Shoshanna experienced and participated in the process step by step, and Legalhotlines.org was one of the first websites in the Legal Services world. The Legal Hotline Technical Assistance Project helped drive an international expansion through its many activities and resources. For many years Shoshanna also served on the planning committee for the National Aging and Law Conference, and on the NLADA/ABA Equal Justice Conference Delivery and Innovations Track work group.
From a geographic perspective, Shoshanna traveled to 26 states to observe their senior hotline operations first-hand. She shared their practices through the Technical Assistance Project, and provided insights learned from her wide view of programs. Canada and Australia also participated in Project newsletters and workshops.
The National Association of Senior Legal Hotlines and the Center for Elder Rights Advocacy are proud to honor Shoshanna’s many accomplishments on behalf of seniors across the country by naming her the first recipient of the 2016 “Shoshie”, a new award created in her honor. To view a video of the award ceremony, visit this link.