Press Clips On Civil Legal Aid


Long Form (NATIONAL)

No Money, No Lawyer, No Justice – The vast, hidden inequities of the civil legal system

June 22, 2020 | New Republic
This is a sweeping investigative piece on “the vast, hidden inequities of the civil legal system.” With a focus on the lack of legal representation for those who need it, journalist Kathryn Joyce shows the nightmare of civil legal problems through the eyes of those who have experienced them.
Tags: Access to Justice | Benefits of Legal Aid | Civil Right to Counsel | Consumer Protection | Debt Collection | Domestic Violence | Funding: Federal | Housing: Eviction | Poverty
News Story (NATIONAL)

‘They Just Dumped Him Like Trash’: Nursing Homes Evict Vulnerable Residents

June 21, 2020 | New York Times (NYT)
This incredibly powerful story describes how nursing homes across the country are kicking out less-profitable residents to make room for a new class of customers who would generate more revenue: patients with Covid-19. Legal aid attorneys and other advocates for nursing home residents are fighting to protect their rights.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Disability Rights | Housing: Eviction | Medicaid | Nursing Homes
Investigative (Arkansas, NATIONAL, New York, STATES)

Capital One and Other Debt Collectors Are Still Coming for Millions of Americans

June 8, 2020 | ProPublica
ProPublica spoke with three New Yorkers who struggled to address seizures of their pay after the pandemic hit. Although all three managed to eventually halt the garnishments with the help of a legal aid attorney, the cases show how such suits can hang over people’s lives for decades.
Tags: Consumer Protection | CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Debt Collection
Op-Ed (District of Columbia)

Ariel Levinson-Waldman: With COVID debt cases expected to rise, DC should fully fund civil legal services

June 3, 2020 | The DC Line
The author, Ariel Levinson-Waldman, sits on the DC Access to Justice Commission and is the founding director of the nonprofit organization Tzedek DC. In this op-ed he calls for increasing resources for civil legal help, protecting defendants against wrongful default judgments, and ensuring more accountability concerning debt collection practices in DC.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Funding - State and Local
News Story (California, Florida, NATIONAL, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia)

State Eviction Moratoriums Are Ending, and ‘It’s Going to Be a True Nightmare’

June 1, 2020 | VICE News
By the end of this week, about half of all U.S. states will have no eviction protections — even though people are still grappling with the lack of income that made paying rent impossible in the first place. Legal Aid attorneys across the country, who have already been fighting illegal evictions since the pandemic began, ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Housing: Eviction
News Story (NATIONAL, Texas, Virginia)

What Happens When the Eviction Bans End?

May 29, 2020 | CityLab
States are reopening courts to eviction hearings even as coronavirus-driven job losses continue, setting the stage for “a housing crisis of unparalleled magnitude.”  
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Housing: Eviction
News Story (Florida, NATIONAL)

‘Still Catching Up’: Jobless Numbers May Not Tell Full Story

May 28, 2020 | New York Times (NYT)
Unemployment claims exceed 40 million since the start of the pandemic, with 2.1 million added last week, but a backlog may be leaving many uncounted.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Unemployment Insurance
Column, Op-Ed

Kennedy’s Civil Gideon is a Human Right

May 17, 2020 | WBSM (New Bedford, MA, talk radio)
Opinion piece by New Bedford, Massachusetts attorney who represents indigent defendants in criminal matters, in support of “Civil Gideon” resolution ensuring counsel for all in civil matters.

News Story (District of Columbia, Illinois, NATIONAL, New York)

Going To Court Without A Lawyer Was Always Hard. The Pandemic Has Made It Much Harder.

May 15, 2020 | BuzzFeed
With courthouses still closed, judges and legal aid groups fear people who can’t afford lawyers are being shut out of the civil justice system altogether.
Tags: CoronaVirus | Courts | COVID-19 | Pro Se/Self-Help
News Story (Illinois)

Legal aid organizations strained by increase in pandemic-related cases, including domestic violence, unemployment claims

May 11, 2020 | Chicago Tribune
Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck Chicago, attorneys who offer legal work to the poor say they have seen a significant rise in people seeking assistance with domestic violence and unemployment benefits. With demand for free legal help expected to further rise after Cook County courts reopen, lawyers say the public health crisis will intensify preexisting ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Debt Collection | Domestic Violence | Housing: Eviction | Pro Bono | Public Benefits | Unemployment Insurance
Audio, Interview, News Story

COVID-19 Has Created A Legal Aid Crisis. FEMA’s Usual Response Is Missing

May 11, 2020 | National Public Radio (NPR)
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the White House have failed to fund Disaster Legal Services, a legal assistance program that is routinely available to disaster survivors. The missing funding becomes more pressing every day because, unlike most weather disasters, the pandemic is causing long-term economic destruction.

Feature, News Story (NATIONAL)

Law Students Step Up As Legal Needs From Virus Grow

May 10, 2020 | Law360
A law student with free time and plenty of frustration over the rate of coronavirus infection in jails and detention centers wanted to help, so she used social media to offer her pro bono assistance. The next day, the COVID-19 Pro Bono Support Listserv was born. In less than two months, the project has garnered a ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Law Schools | Pro Bono
News Story (NATIONAL)

Is Now The Time To Reform How Courts Handle Debt Cases?

May 10, 2020 | Law360
A new report from Pew Charitable Trusts civil legal system modernization project highlights debt court trends and features of debt collection suits that could be ripe for changes, and calls for reform. “Right now is a critical moment for actions,” said Erika Rickard, director of the civil legal system modernization project at Pew. “Now is ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | Court Reform | COVID-19 | Debt Collection | Report
Op-Ed (Oklahoma)

Point of View: Legal aid is a front-line responder

May 10, 2020 | Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission and Foundation , Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma
This op-ed by Katie Dilks, executive director of Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation, and Michael Figgins, executive director of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, explains how legal aid providers are front-line responders to the Covid-19 pandemic, and making a strong case re the need for the efforts of leaders both public and private, along with all ... Read more
Tags: Domestic Violence | Housing: Eviction | Pro Bono
News Story (Illinois, NATIONAL)

What Happens If You Are Sued by a Debt Collector?

May 8, 2020 | New York Times (NYT)
A new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Civil Legal System Modernization project says the lawsuits were already the most common civil cases in many states. Now, because of the pandemic, even more people are in financial trouble.
Tags: Consumer Protection | CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Debt Collection
Audio, Interview, News Story, Talk Radio (Georgia, NATIONAL)

More And More Georgians Are Being Sued Because Of Their Debt

May 8, 2020 | WABE (local NPR, Atlanta)
More and more Georgians are being sued for debt.Major corporations–some even traded on the New York Stock Exchange–buy bad debt from a company or credit card issuer for pennies. The companies will then sue in local courts for the full amount–and then some. And these debt collectors’ win rate is staggering, but it’s rarely because ... Read more
Tags: Court Reform | Debt Collection | Reports
Op-Ed (Alabama)

Legal Services Alabama standing on the front lines with public during coronavirus crisis

April 29, 2020 | Montgomery Advertiser

Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Domestic Violence | Funding - State and Local | Funding: State & Local | Housing: Eviction | Unemployment Insurance

More resources for the Legal Services Corporation are needed as the pandemic continues

April 28, 2020 | Hill, The
Stay-at-home orders will continue for the next several weeks in many parts of the country. Even when and where restrictions are lifted, things will not be the same as they were before. We should invest now in Legal Services Corporation so the rights of our families, friends and neighbors are fully protected during these uncertain ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Funding: Federal
Blog Post, Op-Ed (NATIONAL)

In Child Welfare Cases, Just Any Old Lawyer Won’t Do

April 28, 2020 | Chronicle of Social Change (CA)

Tags: Child Welfare | CoronaVirus | COVID-19
News Story (California, District of Columbia, NATIONAL, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania)

Can you pay the rent on May 1? Here’s what to do if you can’t

April 27, 2020 | CNN Business , CNN
Across the country, tenant advocates and housing lawyers are sounding alarms that an increasing number of renters will not be able to pay rent on May 1st. If you can’t pay your rent, this is what civil legal advocates say you should do.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Housing: Eviction
News Story (Virginia)

Unable to evict, some landlords accuse tenants of abandoning homes they’re still living in

April 27, 2020 | Virginia Mercury
As COVID-19 began to spread in Virginia, 61-year-old Linda Wilkinson’s work as a house cleaner dried up almost instantly. She understood why her elderly clients couldn’t risk having her come into their homes, but she was surprised at her landlord’s unwillingness to work with her on rent after seven years of on-time payments. Palmer Heenan, ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Housing: Eviction
News Story (Massachusetts, NATIONAL)

Virus Sparks Calls To Pump The Brakes On Debt Suits

April 26, 2020 | Law360
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to envelop the country, some consumer advocates are calling for greater protections for debtors until the crisis abates, arguing that the economic crisis is negatively impacting the ability of Americans to not only pay their debts but also fight collection actions in court. Last month, Greater Boston Legal Services urged ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Debt Collection
Op-Ed (Pennsylvania)

As people choose between food and other basic necessities, Congress should expand SNAP benefits

April 24, 2020 | Philadelphia Inquirer
Americans sheltering in place, including those already receiving SNAP benefits, low-income college students, and others struggling to get by are going hungry while the USDA denies benefits. This opinion piece by Louise Hayes, a supervising attorney in the Health & Independence Unit at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia explains the problem and offers a solution.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Hunger | Public Benefits | SNAP
Op-Ed (Virginia)

Legal aid, facing state cuts, remains crucial during pandemic

April 22, 2020 | Virginia Mercury
Op-ed by Legal Services Corporation of Virginia Executive Director Mark D. Braley, calling for increased support to ensure that legal aid can effectively help guide Virginians through the Covid-19 pandemic. LSCV funds and oversees the work of nine regional Legal Aid programs and a statewide support center, the Virginia Poverty Law Center.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Debt Collection | Domestic Violence | Housing: Eviction | Housing: Foreclosure | Public Benefits | Unemployment Insurance
News Story (Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, NATIONAL, Pennsylvania)

Renters Are Being Forced From Their Homes Despite Eviction Moratoriums Meant to Protect Them

April 15, 2020 | Time
Millions of people in America are under shelter-in-place orders requiring them to stay home whenever possible, but a growing number don’t have that luxury. Their landlords are kicking them out for not paying the rent, despite moratoriums on evictions in more than 30 states and dozens of cities. Legal advocates are doing what they can ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Housing: Eviction
Op-Ed (Washington)

Coronavirus will overwhelm our civil legal-aid system

April 14, 2020 | Seattle Times
Excellent op-ed by Mary Fairhurst, former Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, and Fred Rivera, general counsel for the Seattle Mariners, calling for substantial and sustained government support for civil legal aid as part of short- and long-term policy responses to COVID-19 at all levels.
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Domestic Violence | Housing: Eviction | Housing: Foreclosure | Public Benefits | Unemployment Insurance
News Story (Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, NATIONAL, Ohio, Texas)

The Fiscal Crisis Coming For Legal Aid

April 12, 2020 | Law360
Just as millions more people are in need of (and becoming eligible for) free civil legal help due to job losses and other economic fallout from COVID-19, slashed interest rates and the overall financial climate are creating a massive and sudden funding crisis for legal aid providers. Right now “is the absolute worst time possible ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Funding: IOLTA | Funding: Private/Foundation
Feature, News Story (Louisiana, Minnesota, NATIONAL, New York)


April 9, 2020 | Prism
For advocates working with survivors during this unprecedented upheaval in American life, there is a horrific calculation that must take place in order to figure out how best to help a family. Any situation that was occurring before COVID-19 “is now multiplying,” said Maribel Martinez-Gunter of Legal Services New York City, adding that she and ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Domestic Violence | Immigration | Native American
Op-Ed (North Carolina)

3 things NC must do right now to save us from the COVID-19 pandemic | OPINION

April 8, 2020 | Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
Pisgah Legal Services Executive Director Jim Barrett, and Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy Executive Director Ken Schorr challenge North Carolina’s legislature to 1) expand Medicaid to cover 500,000 residents who do not have health insurance, 2) resurrect the state’s Unemployment Insurance program, which is currently “the cruelest unemployment insurance program in the entire country,” and 3) restore state funding for civil legal ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Health Care | Medicare | Unemployment Insurance
Audio, Interview (Arkansas, NATIONAL)

How to Get Unemployment Benefits During the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 8, 2020 |
The Federal Government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the CARES Act which will expand unemployment insurance to help those affected by COVID-19. This can all be rather confusing, so we turned to Kevin De Liban, an attorney with Legal Aid of Arkansas, to answer some questions about the CARES Act, and ... Read more
Tags: CoronaVirus | COVID-19 | Unemployment Insurance