Sitting with clasped hands and sympathetic eyes, Duane Phillips listens to an elderly client seeking legal advice. Just months after retiring from a 35-year career as a lawyer for the state, Phillips, 66, is staying occupied while putting his knowledge of the law to good use as a volunteer attorney with Senior Legal Hotline, a local nonprofit offering free legal information, advice and referrals to Sacramento County residents 60 and older, regardless of income. Since 2008, Phillips has helped thousands of vulnerable seniors. Many cannot afford to hire an attorney as they struggle with legal issues ranging from estate planning to financial elder abuse. Hearing the terror in some seniors' voices when they call the hotline is heart rending, he says, until he advises them on how to exercise their legal rights. "Often they seem really reassured - which is a good feeling," he says.
Sacramento County residents 60 and older can call the Senior Legal Hotline at: