What is SOLACE:
SOLACE is an acronym for “Support of Lawyers & Legal Personnel – All Concern Encouraged.”
In Delaware, SOLACE is coordinated by the Delaware Lawyers Assistance Program (DE-LAP).
In brief, it is a program in which members of the legal community help each other and family members. It is a program practically custom-made for the compassionate attorneys and judges in the congenial Delaware Bar. It is a voluntary, email-based program. The request for help and the helper -remain confidential.
The Purpose of SOLACE
The sole purpose of SOLACE is to allow the legal community to reach out in meaningful and compassionate ways to judges, lawyers, paralegals, court personnel, legal secretaries, and their families in order to provide assistance when they are in critical need due to a significant, life-changing event such as a death or catastrophic illness or injury; fire; and/or other catastrophic situations.
How SOLACE works
SOLACE services are much different than the other services offered by DE-LAP. SOLACE offers short term immediate support to a legal professional.
Someone needing help, or someone who knows of the need for help, emails the SOLACE Coordinator at DE-LAP with a request. The Coordinator sends out an email (without any identifying details such as names and addresses, etc.) to all registered Delaware attorneys with the requesti for specific help.
As an example, John Doe, a paralegal at XYZ Law Firm, is too ill to drive, lives alone and needs to get to medical appointments every day at 10 AM for two weeks in April. Someone at XYZ emails the SOLACE Coordinator with this information. The Coordinator then sends an email out asking if anyone is able and willing to drive someone to at least one 10 AM medical appointment during the specific weeks. People who are free one morning during those weeks and are willing to drive respond to the coordinator by email. The coordinator pairs the volunteer drivers with the ill paralegal.
SOLACE Delaware is free, confidential and voluntary
No Fanfare. No finger pointing. No soliciting money. The identities of the requester, the person needing the help and the volunteer helper are not made public nor are the needs themselves shared beyond the first mass email from the Coordinator. Anyone not wishing to receive emails from the SOLACE Coordinator can opt-out. Only those persons able and willing to help fellow members of the legal community will know what a great service they provide each other and the wonderful feelings that come with it.
The SOLACE program began operation on October 28, 2002, with a few attorneys and legal professionals forming the initial assistance network. The concept that became the SOLACE Program was developed by Mark C. Surprenant a New Orleans attorney, and The Honorable U.S. District Court Judge Jay C. Zainey. This concept that became known as thee SOLACE program – an acronym for Support of Lawyers/Legal Personnel, All Concern Encouraged.
In just over seven years, today SOLACE has developed into a network of more than 6,000 legal professionals, all quickly accessible by e-mail. Moreover, the SOLACE network has assisted more than 500 individuals and families. That assistance can come in the form of a condolence card to the grieving family of deceased attorney to immediate air transportation for an attorney needing to get to a hospital out-of- state for a life-saving organ transplant. The speed at which these requests for assistance are filled is amazing – answers can come in a few minutes, a few hours or few days.
For example, the SOLACE program was particularly instrumental in assisting attorneys who were displaced as a result of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike in finding housing, office space, office furniture and books.
The SOLACE committee is part of a national program that has local volunteers. Volunteers include lawyers, judges, paralegals, legal secretaries and others legal staff members from New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties. Most of our volunteers have been involved with other outreach projects for members of the legal community and all have experienced a true sense of giving by doing something special for those in need.
Interested in Becoming a Volunteer? Please click here.
If you want to experience the joy of helping others, or submit a request for support, please contact:
Carol P. Waldhauser
Delaware Lawyers Assistance Program (DE-LAP)