With a lead hand in the recent victory for residents of Cabrini-Green and recognition of her excellent work, Supervisory Attorney Lizzie Rosenthal knows success. However, she sees success as something beyond courtrooms and awards, as something more encompassing of her client’s lives.
“I take my successes where I get them. There are different definitions of success and this work is hard enough that you have to, sometimes, find success in everything you do. Sometimes success means that you have preserved a client’s tenancy. Sometimes success means maybe you haven’t preserved their tenancy, but you have prevented them from becoming homeless sooner. You’ve gotten them their day in court; you’ve given them time to plan for a move rather than getting the notice of termination, showing up in eviction court, and being evicted within a couple of weeks. Even if you haven’t ultimately preserved their housing, you’ve helped them plan and not feel so out of control in the process. Sometimes you have a huge success that leaves you on a high for weeks and weeks, but there are all kinds of successes that can seem very small to us, but can leave such a huge impact on a client’s life.”
Lizzie sees her work at LAF as vital to equal opportunity, a fundamental part of the equal justice she strives to achieve. “No matter your race, class, or background” she explains, “you have access to a quality lawyer and due process.” As an attorney in legal aid, she measures her accomplishments by their impact on the lives of those she advocates for: the successes -however big or small- are shared.
”It’s a privilege to use my law degree at LAF to help the underserved, the disenfranchised. The fact that I get to do this every day, to get job satisfaction out of that, is awesome.”