County legal fair will be operated remotely this year, registration ends Friday evening

Registration ends at 5 p.m. on Sept. 3

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • The 2021 San Juan County Legal Fair will be taking place from noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 10.
  • The 2020 event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the state’s judiciary branch made moves to limit in-person traffic to state courthouses.
  • The public can register at https://eleventhdistrictcourt.nmcourts.gov/2021-san-juan-county-free-virtual-telephonic-legal-fair/.

FARMINGTON — The San Juan County legal fair organizers are urging the public to sign up and register for this year’s event, which is being conducted telephonically and virtually after last year’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 San Juan County Legal Fair will take place from noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 10.

Previous fairs were held at the Aztec and Farmington district court buildings where area attorneys would volunteer to work with the community to answer questions in a variety of legal issues.

The 2020 event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the state’s judiciary branch made moves to limit in-person traffic to state courthouses, including holding most hearings remotely.

The tenth-annual event is organized by the Pro Bono Committee for the 11th Judicial District Court and the New Mexico Volunteer Attorney Program.

Patricia Simpson, left, talks with a resident of Aztec on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, during the Annual Legal Fair at the Eleventh Judicial District Court in Aztec.

District Court Judge Curtis Gurley told The Daily Times that while the state courthouses haven’t been closed in the last year and a half, the restrictions imposed to keep them operating also prevent hosting an in-person event like the legal fair.

The 2019 event served 249 people in the community, and it’s that turnout that made it important for county officials to make this year’s event a success.

“So that’s a pretty large number of people,” Gurley said. “We just decided that we were going to make it work this year.”

Gurley has volunteered for the legal fair in years past and said he enjoys helping people in the community.

He added some people in the community can get overwhelmed when dealing with legal issues and the fair is a great event to help tackle problems which require legal expertise.

The attorneys can provide free legal advice on a number of areas including unemployment, child support, landlord/tenant issues, name changes, child support, bankruptcy and creditor/debtor issues.

The top two categories' people seek legal advice in is divorce and probate/wills, Gurley said.

Those seeking advice must register online by 5 p.m. on Sept. 3 to have their questions answered.

They can register at https://eleventhdistrictcourt.nmcourts.gov/2021-san-juan-county-free-virtual-telephonic-legal-fair/.

Those who register for an appointment are asked to collect all documents relevant to the legal matter at hand, Gurley said.

Those with questions can send an email at sanjuanlegalfair@nmcourts.gov or call the Aztec District Court Clerks’ Office at 505-334-6151. 

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e