July eNewsletter

There are lots of misconceptions about our work in legal aid.  Some people think we are the public defender.  Some think our clients must have done something wrong to need legal help.  Many think that we are exclusively funded by the government and on a level that enables everyone who needs our help to get it.
Reality is more complicated.  The communities LAF serves are those who face small and large injustices every day, like the ones Tim Hufman works to overturn every day.  LAF’s clients are innocent people like Christina and her family who are desperate for our services.  LAF’s work is often groundbreaking and complex, like Lisa’s work to bring down human traffickers.  And LAF’s funding comes more and more from individuals like yourselves, who believe in every person’s right to a fair day in court.  Every one of these stories can be found in the July eNewsletter, out now.  Read it here.
On behalf of everyone at LAF and all our clients, we thank you for your continued support over the last 50 years of LAF’s presence in Cook County.  Your dedication keeps us strong as we look forward to the next 50!

Let’s Do Lunch: Part Two

 LAF’s 2016 Brownbag Roundtable Series Continues with the Consumer Practice Group

Predatory Lending Round table

As times change, so do the methods of people who abuse systems for personal gain. Those who take advantage of mortgage lending are no exception. But as their methods grow and change, so to do the efforts of the team at LAF who stand against them. “The Life and Times of Predatory Mortgage Lending: A Tale Told Through the Lens of LAF Litigation” was the second of LAF’s 2016 Brownbag Roundtable Series. Dan Lindsey, Director of the Consumer Practice Group, along with Supervisory Attorneys James Brady and Michelle Weinberg, and Senior Attorney, Kathryn Liss, shared their work with a crowded room last week, teaching about how predatory mortgage lending has evolved and exacerbated racial and economic inequality in our community.

One of the cases they profiled was against Mark Diamond, a notorious home repair contractor who preyed predominately on elderly African Americans with false promises of home improvements. He overcharged for bare-bones work (if any work at all), arranged the financing so that he could directly obtain the maximum available funds from a clients’ mortgage loan, and did not provide the legally required consumer rights disclosures. LAF attorneys represented more than a dozen of Diamond’s victims and obtained over $250,000 in recovery. In June 2015, Diamond was finally stopped by the Attorney General, due in large part to the information provided by LAF and the Consumer Practice Group’s tireless representation of individual victims.

“Fraud never sleeps. And so there will always be predators of one kind or another,” they declared last week. Let the hard-working Consumer Practice Group serve as an example that there are also those who will stand up for what is right. Way to go, team!