Mark Sampson, and Segal McCambridge, team up with LAF for Veterans Charity Challenge

For the third year in a row, LAF is participating in the Veterans Charity Challenge, sponsored by Crowdrise. The Challenge is a six-week effort to raise money for nonprofit organizations working to help veterans, which kicks off on Memorial Day and runs until the 4th of July. With the challenge coming to a close, LAF reached out to Mark Sampson, a member of the LAF Young Professionals Board and an associate at Segal McCambridge, to see if the firm would consider sponsoring the final week of the Challenge.

Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney Ltd. agreed to sponsor the LAF Veterans’ Rights Project Charity Challenge in its final week. If LAF can raise $1,000 by June 30, Segal McCambridge will match their efforts with an additional $1,000, with all proceeds benefiting LAF’s Veterans’ Rights Project. We are hoping this will help land us a spot in the top 3 finishers’ category, so we can win even more cash for LAF. The top three finishers in the Challenge win an additional $10,000, $5,000 or $3,000.

Sampson_Mark_BIOWe are thrilled to have Mark’s involvement with the YPB, especially with this exciting partnership. Mark has been involved with the YPB for one year now, and has quickly become a valued member. He has been extremely active attending and supporting YPB events and also serves on the Outreach Committee. At Segal McCambridge, he is an associate attorney practicing products liability and toxic tort litigation. In his free time he enjoys traveling, sailing, and watching Notre Dame Football.

Mark shared with us why he chose to become a member of LAF’s Young Professional Board: “I joined the YPB because I wanted to get involved in supporting the invaluable services that LAF provides to those in our community who otherwise would not have access to legal counsel representation when they need it most. Securing a sponsorship from Segal McCambridge for this Challenge was an excellent opportunity to help LAF raise money for one of its most critical projects.”

LAF’s Veterans’ Rights Project is dedicated to ensuring that low-income service members, veterans, and their families receive advocacy, legal representation, and educational services regarding the enforcement of their legal rights and benefits, both with the Department of Veterans Affairs as well as in a variety of other civil legal areas, including Consumer, Housing, Family, and Public Benefits law.

LAF is very excited about this partnership, and is grateful Segal McCambridge realizes the importance of supporting a project that benefits some of the most vulnerable, and most deserving, members of our community. If you would like to help us meet our challenge and win an additional $1000, please donate here.

Thank you Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, and thank you Mark!

Mary Hutchings Reed, recipient of this year’s Champion for Justice Award

Every year, the Champion for Justice Award is given to an individual who has advocated for people living in poverty through their pro bono commitment to LAF. LAF is so proud to be able to honor Mary Hutchings Reed with this year’s Champion for Justice Award.

Mary joined LAF’s Board in 2000, where she served as the chair of its Fundraising Committee. She was instrumental in the early formation of LAF’s Young Professionals Board, and in the organization of the inaugural golf outing. She served on LAF’s rebranding committee, and designed a program to connect Board members with LAF staff members, in order to deepen – Board involvement with LAF’s mission. She has hosted and organized several donor cultivation events, and is contributing a portion of the sales from her newest novel, Saluting the Sun, to LAF.

Mary has a long list of accomplishments that go far beyond her relationship with LAF. She received her bachelors and master’s degrees from Brown University, and her law degree from Yale. She recently retired after practicing law for nearly 39 years. Mary began her career at Sidley & Austin, and then moved onto Winston and Strawn where she helped start the Advertising, Marketing, and Privacy Law Practice. She has perennially been listed in Leading Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America, and Chambers (USA), and twice was named Best Advertising Lawyer in Chicago.

She has served on the Board of Lawyers for the Creative Arts, the Board of Directors of the WBEZ Advisory Board, the American Civil Liberties Union of Chicago, the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, and Steel Beam Theatre. She has been honored with awards from the Board of Lawyers for the Creative Arts, as well as the Women’s Bar Association. Through the Lawyers committee for Civil Rights under Law, she served as counsel to the Center for Neighborhood Technology. Mary has also taught entertainment law at Northwestern University and Columbia College, and currently writes a column for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. In her free time, she serves the Chicago homeless population by volunteering with The Night Ministry.

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Her friend Susan Russell, refers to Mary as “a brilliant, charismatic and big-hearted human being who goes out of her way to help those around her achieve their goals. Her list of talents is long. And her generosity of spirit is, no doubt, felt and appreciated by many.”

We could not agree more. Congratulations Mary and thank you, from your friends here at LAF!

Stanley Cup Stakes Have Been Raised!

facebook-blackhawksLAF and Tampa’s Bay area Legal Services have made a friendly wager on the outcome of the Stanley Cup Championship.  Both organizations work to provide free civil legal services for people living in poverty in their regions, and have entered into a friendly wager on behalf of their teams.

LAF, in Chicago, has promised half a dozen of Giordano’s deep-dish pizzas to the staff of Tampa’s Bay Area Legal Services should the Blackhawks fail to bring the Cup to their city.  BALS answered the challenge, offering to ship north a box of hand-rolled Ybor City Cigars if the Lightning lose the series.

The feud which originally started as competitive banter on Facebook has spawned into much more for the two organizations.  LAF’s Executive Director, Diana C White, explained, “the only defense stronger than Corey Crawford’s goaltending is the legal defense LAF provides for people living in poverty.  LAF is proud to stand with our team and our city.”

“We thought this would be a fun way of supporting our team and our mission,” said Rose Brempong, Development Director for Bay Area Legal Services. “It’s not often you get an opportunity to get authentic Chicago pizza shipped to your office – we had to take them up on it!”

Click here to read the Press Release for more information, and Join LAF in cheering on the Blackhawks as they play to bring home the Stanley Cup!

Daniel P. Lindsey, recipient of this year’s Jerold S. Solovy Award

Every year at the Annual Luncheon, LAF honors a supervisory or staff attorney who has gone above and beyond for his or her clients with the Jerold S. Solovy Equal Justice Award. The award was created in Jerry Solovy’s honor by Jenner & Block, on the occasion of Jerry’s 50th anniversary with the firm. This honoree is someone who has put forth their best efforts to help their clients get back on their feet and turn their life around. This year Daniel P. Lindsey, Supervisory Attorney in the Consumer Practice Group, has been selected as the recipient of the award.

dan lindseyAs Supervisory Attorney at LAF, Dan has practiced in the areas of housing and consumer law for over 20 years. He has a record of leadership and a nationally-recognized expertise in preserving the homes of our clients. In addition to the individual clients he has helped, Dan has a long list of professional accomplishments. Dan is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and a magna cum laude graduate of Davidson College. He has advocated for local, state, and federal laws and policies promoting fair lending and due process for homeowners. He has written articles, lectured, and participated in task forces, panels, and workshops. Dan has consulted with private attorneys, policymakers, journalists, and academics, and testified before local, state, and federal administrative and legislative bodies.

In 2010, he was appointed to the Residential Mortgage Board of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Dan also served on the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee which drafted foreclosure rules including an important new protection for homeowners requiring lenders to show the court they tried to modify the homeowner’s loan before seeking a foreclosure judgement (Rule 114). 2014 was the first full year Rule 114 was in effect, and it made a real difference in putting extra pressure on lenders to offer loan modifications. Dan has led litigation efforts to standardize Rule 114’s use in foreclosure court and coordinated Rule 114 litigation efforts statewide.

Alan Alop, Director of the Consumer Practice Group, refers to Dan as a “thoughtful, conscientious attorney, who takes the time to get it right. He is the perfect mentor and a collegial worker. In sum, a model for us all.”

To say that Dan is deserving of this prestigious award is an understatement. Thank you Dan for all of your hard work, it will never go unnoticed!

We hope that you join us at this year’s Annual Luncheon on Friday, June 19th, at the Palmer House Hilton. Tickets cost $150 each, and a table for ten costs $3,000. Other sponsorships are also available, and all can be purchased online here. You can also secure your seat by mailing a check to: LAF, Attn: External Relations Department, 120 S. LaSalle St. Ste. 900, Chicago, IL 60603 or by calling 312-347-8370.

LAF advocates for DV client, will speak at this years Luncheon

BR1_0512Bhavika had a happy life in India before she entered into an arranged marriage and then was brought to the United States by her husband on his work visa. She lived with her husband and his parents, who all abused and terrorized her emotionally. They removed her bedroom door so she couldn’t have any privacy, they threatened to take her children away so she would never see them again, and Bhavika’s husband even threatened to take her back to India and have her committed to an institution. She was afraid and believed he would act on the threats, so she called the police. It took three more phone calls to the police for them to take action and escort Bhavika and her children away from their abuser. They still wouldn’t arrest the husband because he had not physically injured Bhavika, and they classified the incidents as a “domestic dispute.” Bhavika and her children ended up in a shelter for immigrant women, where she was referred to LAF.

Immigration Staff Attorney Nubia Willman took Bhavika’s case. She contacted the police department to educate them on the very real dangers Bhavika and her children would face if they were forced to return to India, how her husband’s control of this decision was harmful to Bhavika, and how her only recourse for protection was the police. Nubia convinced the police to reclassify Bhavika as a victim of domestic violence, which also made her eligible for her own visa to stay in the country and work, and secured visas for her sons. Because of LAF’s advocacy, Bhavika and her children are able to start a new life in the United States, safe from abuse.

We are so happy that our staff was able to help Bhavika and her family and we look forward to hearing her speak at this year’s Annual Luncheon on Friday, June 19th, at the Palmer House Hilton. Tickets cost $150 each, and a table for ten costs $3,000. Other sponsorships are also available, and all can be purchased online here. You can also secure your seat by mailing a check to: LAF, Attn: External Relations Department, 120 S. LaSalle St. Ste. 900, Chicago, IL 60603 or by calling 312-347-8370.

LAF Helps Korean War Veteran Get Back On Her Feet

LAF represented the widow of a Korean War veteran, Ms. G, who originally came to LAF because her social security retirement check was being garnished for an over payment of her VA survivor pension. Ms. G was losing about 15% of $1000 a month and her application for waiver was denied. This left her in dire financial strain and desperate for help. We helped her appeal the waiver denial, and also noticed that she should still be eligible for a small portion of VA survivor pension benefits because she required home caretaker services. LAF advocated with the VA on behalf of Ms. G and helped her document her medical cost. Eventually the VA eliminated the over payment which restored Ms. G’s full social security check. The VA also found Ms. G eligible for a small VA survivor pension amount to help pay for her out of pocket medical costs for her caretaker. Now, she was not only receiving the full $1000 social security check, but also additional benefits she didn’t even realize she was eligible for. This increase in income made a big difference to Ms. G and her livelihood.

To continue allowing LAF to change the lives of vulnerable veterans, like Ms. G, please consider participating in this year’s Veterans Charity Challenge by donating at https://www.crowdrise.com/LAFVets2015/fundraiser/lafchicago