April 2014 eNewsletter

In every month’s eNewsletter, we like to include updates on achievements and recognitions our staff have received.  (This month, you can read about Dennericka Brooks and Ashley Fretthold’s successes recognized by their law schools.)  But often, there are heroes at LAF whose stories go unsung.  Some of those heroes are our long-term volunteers.
In April, we celebrate Art Zilberstein’s six year anniversary with LAF.  Art has spent more than 3,000 hours giving invaluable help to our clients struggling with employment claims. Without his consistent and capable efforts, our Immigrants and Workers’ Rights practice group could not have served as many clients as it has.  This month, we also said goodbye to Kim Skaggs, who has been volunteering nearly 30 hours a week with our Children and Families practice group since 2007.  She moves on to other projects in her new home in South Carolina, and we will miss her and her incredible dedication to LAF and our clients.  We thank them both for their great work!
As always, on behalf of the staff, the Board, and the clients we serve here at LAF, we thank you too, for your generosity and support.  You can continue that support by making a tax-deductible donation right now, or by signing up to be a volunteer.
Thank you.

Legal Aid Called “Unsung Heroes” in ACA Enrollment

In a new HuffPo Politics piece about the end of the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s healthcare services, our friends at Voices for Civil Justice called many legal aid lawyers across the country the “unsung heroes” of the enrollment surge for healthcare.  The article recognizes the complex problems that people living in poverty can face.  Many of these problems are interconnected, and poor access to healthcare is only one of them. Legal aid attorneys are particularly suited to help people find lasting solutions to their problems.  The article provides a good example of how “medical problems are often rooted in legal issues — and legal troubles can frequently be caused by poor health. A young child with asthma, for instance, may benefit more from a lawyer who can solve a mold dispute with a landlord than from a prescription inhaler.”  You can read the whole article here.

We are proud of all the efforts of our Public Benefits Practice Group during the past few months with ACA enrollment, and we’re sure our clients are just as grateful as we are.  Thanks, team!


Urgent Pro Bono Opportunity!

LAF’s Pro Bono Project has an urgent opportunity for a volunteer attorney to make a real difference in the life of a client’s family.  We have a case to appeal on behalf of a parent who is being indicted for endangering a child, for incidents the client was not involved in.  It is a good case, and can be resolved quickly.

The case will likely take 5-10 hours of volunteer work.  LAF is looking for an attorney with enough experience to take the lead on this case, though LAF will provide guidance and support. Experience can be gained in client interviewing, one-on-one client counseling, motion practice (there is a technical defense in this case) trial skills, and administrative hearings.  This matter is set for hearing on April 3, 2014. The client was already granted one continuance, and if a pro bono attorney is willing to take this, we would seek a continuance of the hearing to a later date, because there is insufficient time to prepare.  If an attorney asks for the continuance it has a better chance of being granted, than if the client goes in on her own.

Please contact Mara Block at mblock@lafchicago.org as soon as possible if you are interested or if you’d like more information.  Thank you.


Support LAF through Amazon Smile


LAF has recently registered with Amazon Smile, the charitable arm of the online store Amazon.com.  They will donate 0.5% of any Amazon customer’s purchases to the customer’s designated charitable organization.

That means you can donate to LAF just by buying all those things you were already buying online anyway.  It doesn’t increase your purchase price, so there is no downside to you as a customer, and your information stays completely confidential.  (The donation comes from Amazon, not from you, so they get the tax deduction and they don’t share any information with us about the customers or their purchases).  We just get some of the money that they got from you.  It’s that simple!

You can designate LAF as your charity of choice by clicking here, and we’ll start getting some of the money you were spending anyway.  Thank you for supporting LAF!

March 2014 eNewsletter

March certainly came in like a lion, and I think I can safely say we’re all ready for this winter to finally go out like a lamb.  Summer can’t come soon enough, but no matter what the weather does, our work at LAF continues day in and day out.  You can read more about all our efforts in this month’s edition of our eNewsletter.
The Chicago Community Trust recognized LAF’s own Miguel Keberlein Gutiérrez as an Emerging Leader in the community, our Public Benefits Practice Group helped secure financial stability for a cancer survivor and her daughter, our Juvenile Expungement project developed an App to increase awareness of its great work, and our Young Professionals Board raised more than $30,000 for LAF at their Justice is Served event while enjoying a fabulous evening of drinks, food, silent auction, and more.
As always, on behalf of the staff, the Board, and the clients we serve here at LAF, thank you for your generosity and support.  You can continue that support by making a tax-deductible donation right now.

Miguel Keberlein Gutiérrez Named Emerging Leader Fellow

 Last month, The Chicago Community Trust announced its six Trust Fellows for 2014, and LAF’s own Miguel Keberlein Gutiérrez was on the list.  Miguel is the supervisor of the Illinois Migrant Legal Assistance Project (IMLAP) and Co-Director of the Immigrants and Worker’s Rights Practice Group here at LAF.  He was named an Emerging Leader by the Chicago Community Trust, metropolitan Chicago’s community foundation.  The Trust Fellowship recognized his leadership talent for nonprofit organizations, his excellence in the sector, and will grant $30,000 to Miguel to fund his professional development.

“The Trust Fellows are individuals who will pave the next decade of innovation for our region,” says Terry Mazany, president and chief executive officer of The Chicago Community Trust, and “we have a chance to celebrate the contributions of these individuals and support their innovative spirit.”

You can read more about the fellowship here, and read their profile of Miguel here.

Way to go, Miguel!