Running a Hotline is More than Answering the Phone: A Collaborative Workshop

By Christopher Jackson, Communications Coordinator, Elder Law of Michigan, and Project Administrator, Center for Elder Rights Advocacy

The Equal Justice Conference is quickly approaching! Hosted at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, pre-conference day is May 11th followed by the conference on May 12-14. The Equal Justice Conference joins all components of the civil legal aid community to discuss and address issues related to the delivery of legal services to low-income individuals in need of legal assistance.


The Center for Elder Rights Advocacy and the National Association of Senior Legal Hotlines are excited to host a pre-conference workshop at the EJC: Running a Hotline is More than Answering the Phone: A Collaborative Workshop. The pre-conference workshop will be a day of idea sharing, problem solving, and resource gathering.  The workshop will be split into two sessions, morning and afternoon, running from 9 AM to 4:30 PM on May 11th. This workshop is open to all types of legal hotlines, not just senior legal hotlines, as the topics to be discussed are relevant to all hotlines.

The morning session will include discussions on the operating of a legal hotline with tips on structuring intake, new technology to consider, and how to do effective follow up.  We will explore questions like:

  • What technology is available to help handle hotline calls?
  • What standards of service do programs use to determine how effective their model might be?
  • How are satisfaction surveys, outcome data, etc. being used?
  • How is this data actually collected?

The afternoon will shift the focus to staffing the hotline with discussions on using remote staffing, looking at the cost of free help, hiring all part-time staff, and models of supervision and evaluation. We will explore questions like:

  • How are legal hotlines being staffed?
  • How do I decide what the right staffing model is for my program?
  • What costs are involved in using law students, volunteers, etc.?
  • Are programs partnering with law schools to make it easier to recruit? How do you decide if it is cost-effective?

The workshop will also look at template documents like client surveys, job descriptions, etc.  All of these topics will be covered through a collaborative exchange with the presenters and the workshop participants, so bring your ideas and challenges!

  • When: Wednesday, May 11, 2016
  • Time: 9 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Where: Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL
  • Cost: Included in the basic Equal Justice Conference registration

To register for the EJC and the pre-conference day, click here to visit the ABA’s website. For more information about CERA, visit


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