Through the Eyes of the Intern: Colleen Nicholson

Today on the blog we’re doing something a little different.  Instead of telling you about what we’ve been up to here at LAF, we’re letting one of our summer interns do it for us as a guest blogger!  

Colleen Nicholson is a law school student at the University of Michigan, originally from the Chicago area, who has been working with our Immigrants and Workers’ Rights Practice Group this summer.  We’ve been lucky to have her with us, and we wish her all the best as the school year starts up again soon.  You can read all about her experience, in her own words, below:  

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Education Law Pro Bono Opportunity

LAF invites all interested attorneys to participate in a training for new volunteers in the LAF Education Law Pro Bono Project.

LAF’s Education Law Pro Bono Project refers cases for children with disabilities who need advocacy to obtain proper special education services. This year, we are also expanding the project to include representation of children who are being expelled from school. No experience in education law is required.

Volunteer attorneys are asked to take at least one case pro bono each year

Average case length:
Expulsions – 1-2 weeks intensive over 3-6 months, hearings are usually less than 1 day
Special education – 8-10 months

Training takes place:
Thursday, September 12, 2013
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
LAF’s Offices 120 S. LaSalle Street, Room 1078
Seating is first come, first served and availability is limited to 40 people.

MCLE credit will be provided.

Please RSVP to by September 10, 2013.

Congratulations, Jim!

LAF is proud and excited to congratulate Jim Irving of DLA Piper, a founding member of our Young Professionals Board, for receiving The Maurice Weigle Exceptional Young Lawyer Award at the Chicago Bar Association and Foundation’s Pro Bono and Public Service Awards Luncheon this afternoon.

In his speech, Jim spoke of the importance of having the opportunities in life to strive, to reach one’s potential.  Through his work as a pro bono advocate and expert in juvenile expungement issues, Jim provides his clients with the legal help they need to be able to strive for a better life, and to reach their potential.  You can listen to his whole speech below, or view it on youtube:

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When Immigration and Healthcare Don’t Meet

This article ran earlier this week in the Chicago Tribune.  It tells the story of Jesus Arroyo, an undocumented immigrant without health insurance, who was struck by a car almost two years ago and has been struggling to recover without the help of doctors and nurses.  He is recovering slowly, with the help of his family and a mechanic-turned-health care activist who massages his paralyzed muscles once a week.

With the new immigration legislation, Arroyo and 11 million others could soon be fast-tracked onto a path towards citizenship.  Bumps in the rode come up when this track crosses with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which goes into effect in 2014.  Providing Medicare and Medicaid for these 11 million immigrants has been banned for the next 10 years by a Senate bill, and leaves those in this country without papers relying on home remedies and hospital charity care, which are already overtaxed.

Lisa Palumbo, a Supervisory Attorney in LAF’s Immigrants and Workers’ Rights Practice Group,  told the Tribune of another possible consequence of this:  Hospital Repatriations,  illegal practice of hospitals that send undocumented, uninsured patients back to their home country, effectively deporting these individuals in violation of federal immigration law.  “When people can’t pay the bill and can’t take them into their own home, family members usually feel like: ‘I don’t have any other choice. I’m going to be obligated to do this,'” she said, even though the law clearly says that a patient’s treatment plan requires consent from the patient and his or her family, and they have the final say.  While such procedure is the norm, this article explains why that doesn’t always happen with immigrant patients who are uninsured.

Read the whole article on the Tribune’s website.