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February 27, 2023

The Case for the ABA and the Cancer Legal Resource Center’s Collaboration

By Shelly Rosenfeld

The American Bar Association (ABA) is an organization that bring attorneys together, but it also has the capacity to enhance involvement in a larger community.  One example is the ABA’s collaboration with the Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC), which provides free legal resources to people affected by cancer nationwide. The CLRC is a program of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Disability Rights Legal Center.

The CLRC is actively involved in the ABA’s Cancer Advocacy Interest Group, which was previously named the Breast Cancer Interest Group. The CLRC provides information and education about cancer-related legal issues to the public through its national telephone assistance line or online intake form. The CLRC also conducts national education and outreach programs for community groups, employers, and healthcare professionals and is actively involved in community activities to raise public awareness of cancer-related legal and public policy issues.

CLRC provides important information and resources to help individuals work through legal issues related to their cancer treatment and its cost—this service is free and all patient information is kept confidential. However, it does not provide direct legal advice or representation, so when callers require legal advice or direct advocacy to resolve concerns, CLRC refers them to attorneys or other professionals on its Professional Panel who practice in their geographic area and have expertise in the area of inquiry.

To help as many of these patients as possible, the CLRC seeks attorneys barred in any state with experience in a wide range of legal disciplines, including (but not limited to) employment, insurance, estate planning, government benefits, medical malpractice, consumer rights, and family law, who can provide a critical service for people with cancer and who are willing to employ their legal expertise to that end.  Please join our efforts! If you are interested in joining the CLRC’s Professional Panel, please click here for the application.

A Panel member’s initial commitment is a limited one:  The legal professional agrees to provide a CLRC caller with a minimum of a 30-minute pro bono consultation, either in person or on the telephone.  Any further representation (and fees charged, if any) are up to the Panel member and the referred CLRC caller.  Referrals are assigned based on subject matter with consideration to the nature of the caller’s case and geographic location. Lawyers tend to look for more satisfaction in their careers, and the Professional Panel is a great way to give back in an impactful way.

All ABA members are invited to a free upcoming webinar for the Cancer Legal Resource Center’s Professional Panel prospective and current Panel members. The topic is “Impaired Colleague? Addressing Attorney Competency, the Warning Signs, and Getting Help,” led by Lita Abella, JD, Senior Program Analyst at the State Bar of California. (California attorneys can earn one CA MCLE (Competency credit approved).) Download our flier for more information, or register for the event here.

If you have any friends or colleagues who would be interested in serving the needs of those affected by cancer by joining the Professional Panel, please don’t hesitate to send them our way. We look forward to working with you in ensuring that cancer patients and their families can understand their rights and take action to protect them as necessary.

This article is ​meant for educational and informational use only. This article is not intended as legal or medical advice and should not substitute for an individual legal consultation with an experienced attorney in your state.

For more tips or answers to cancer-related legal questions, contact the CLRC at 866-843-2572 or visit

Shelly Rosenfeld, Esq.

Cancer Legal Resource Center, a program of the Disability Rights Legal Center, Los Angeles, CA

Shelly Rosenfeld is director of the Disability Rights Legal Center’s Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC). Ms. Rosenfeld serves on the ABA’s Cancer Advocacy Interest Group. Her nearly 20 legal articles have been featured in a variety of legal publications, including Prevention, Conquer: The Patient Voice, Cancer Today, Coping With Cancer magazine, Cancer Wellness magazine, and Cure magazine. Before becoming an attorney, Ms. Rosenfeld worked as a television anchor and reporter for an NBC affiliate in Arizona. She earned an LL.M. at UCLA Law School, a JD at UC Hastings College of the Law, a master’s degree at Northwestern University, and a BA at UC Berkeley. She is a member of the State Bar of California, the State Bar of New York, and the District of Columbia Bar. 

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