Why we do what we do: A letter from a Client

Every once in a while, we get a reminder of why we do what we do.  Most of the time these aren’t the big cases or the groundbreaking legal work.  They’re just the everyday things we do that change lives.  Last week, Erica Adams, a paralegal in the Consumer Practice Group, got a letter from a woman she’d helped.

It’s not a particularly special story.  It’s nothing out of the ordinary.  It’s just a case of another senior grappling with debts that she wishes she was able to pay.  The amounts demanded by debt collectors are often hugely inflated with excessive (but not illegal) interest and fees.  Usually by the time one of these clients calls LAF, they have made minimum payments for so long that they’ve already paid back most of the original amount of their purchases.  Erica’s help provides peace of mind to these clients, and stops the phone from ringing with harassing collectors.  LAF simply helped this client sleep better at night because she no longer had to worry about the possibility that her meager retirement checks could be garnished because of her debt.  

In her gratitude, the client wrote the following note to Erica: Continue reading


Pro Bono Week 2013 Opportunities

Pro Bono Week 2013 is just around the corner and this year there are TWO ways to celebrate with LAF.

1)   Monday, October 28, 2013 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Join us as we train a new class of volunteers in our SNAP Pro Bono Project!

Learn about what you can do to help individuals who are not receiving the correct amount of SNAP (food stamps). Participants will learn about SNAP eligibility, barriers clients face in obtaining and keeping their SNAP benefits, how to assist clients who have been erroneously denied food stamps, are receiving an incorrect amount of food stamps, have had interruptions in benefits, or are experiencing processing delays. The training is free and includes MCLE credit. Please RSVP to Melissa Katt, mkatt@lafchicago.org by October 23, 2013.

2)   Tuesday, October 29, 2013 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm

LAF and the ISBA’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee invite you to participate in an interactive hour of ethics MCLE credit on the subject, “Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd”.

When providing pro bono representation to an individual, there is a good chance that the client has never worked with an attorney before and the client may bring additional people along to attorney-client meetings. This session will offer a primer on the rules for attorney-client privilege and how the presence of third parties can waive that privilege. Then the session will invite the learners to address the practicalities of explaining privilege to an unsophisticated client and determining whether the client has given informed consent to include a third party in the meeting.

This training is free and one hour of Professionalism CLE credit will be provided. Due to limited resources, lunch will not be provided, but please feel free to bring your own. Please RSVP to Mara Block, mblock@lafchicago.org by October 23, 2013.

Have a wonderful Pro Bono Week 2013, however you choose to celebrate!

LAF Volunteer named the Face of Justice

We are happy to share the news that our friends at Illinois Legal Aid Online have named Kimberly M. Skaggs to be their Face of Justice for October.

Kim is one of our most dedicated volunteers.  She donates almost 30 hours each week to LAF’s Children and Families Practice Group, and is nearly unstoppable in her passion for our clients.  Below, or on their website, you can watch the video they produced to celebrate her work, in which she talks about the tremendous barriers faced by our clients, and the inspiration she takes from her earliest days as a law clerk.

Way to go, Kim!  We’re grateful for all you do for LAF and our clients, and so proud of your accomplishments!

Read the 2012 Annual Report

With the arrival of pumpkin spice and fall colors, it feels like the year is starting to come to an end.  We’re still busy here, but this time of year does have us reflecting back on the work of the past year and celebrating our successes.
We’ve just finished our 2012 Annual Report, and would love to share it with you on our website here.  In it, you can read about people like Marco, for whom we secured access to food, and Caroline, for whom we gained access to sign language tutoring and a better school.  You can also see our list of major donors from 2012.  And if you haven’t had the chance to secure your place on that list for 2013, you can make a contribution online today.