Press Clips On Civil Legal Aid


Letter to Editor (NATIONAL, Pennsylvania)

To the Editor: Re “Eviction Crises That a Few Hundred Dollars Could Solve”

January 7, 2020 | New York Times (NYT)
While the holiday season brought tidings of joy for some, many people go through the cold winter months facing eviction and homelessness. Many are renters who are shut out of their homes over only a few hundred dollars, often less than one month’s rent.
Tags: Housing: Eviction | Housing: Right to Counsel
News Story (NATIONAL)

As Rents Rise, Cities Strengthen Tenants’ Ability to Fight Eviction

December 26, 2019 | Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
Half-a-dozen cities from San Francisco to Cleveland are promising tenants the right to an attorney in eviction cases, a costly and logistically daunting initiative that advocates say is a necessary response to rising housing costs and homelessness.
Tags: Housing: Eviction | Right to Counsel
News Story (Pennsylvania)

Philadelphia renters forced to deal with major issues — or risk eviction

December 18, 2019 | WHYY (PA)
“The importance of the right to counsel bill can’t be minimized,” says Rachel Garland, a veteran of the city’s eviction courts and managing attorney at Community Legal Services. “This is a very large step for Philadelphia.”
Tags: Housing: Eviction | Housing: Right to Counsel
News Story (NATIONAL, Ohio, Pennsylvania)

Is Tenants’ Right to Counsel On Its Way to Becoming Standard Practice?

December 10, 2019 |
Eviction is a deeply disruptive and destructive event in a tenant’s life that, in the words of Matt Desmond, director of Princeton University's Eviction Lab, “is not just a condition of poverty, it is a cause of it.” Research shows that most of the time in housing court landlords have lawyers but tenants do not. The good news is that there is a growing national movement to provide all renters facing eviction the legal help they need to ensure a fair outcome in eviction proceedings. So far, five cities have passed such bills, and more are considering it.
Tags: Civil Right to Counsel | Housing: Eviction | Housing: Landlord-Tenant
Op-Ed (California)

Record Expungement Unlocks Opportunities after a Criminal Conviction

November 26, 2019 | Voice of OC
Many with past convictions may qualify to have those convictions expunged but don’t know about their eligibility or have difficulty navigating the complex process without a lawyer.
Tags: Expungement / Record Sealing
News Story, Video (New York)

Bronx legal clinic for women veterans in jeopardy of closing due to funding

November 13, 2019 | News 12 the Bronx
Samantha Kubek, with the NY Legal Assistance, established the legal clinic, the nation's first for women veterans at VA hospital.
Tags: Veterans
News Story (Pennsylvania)

A Fairer Evictions Court

November 6, 2019 | Philadelphia Citizen
Proposed legislation would provide free lawyers for Philly tenants at risk of evictions, similar to how defendants are guaranteed counsel in criminal court. Could it help even the playing field here, as it has in New York City?
Tags: Housing: Right to Counsel

Law and Disorder: Climate Change in the Courts

October 18, 2019 | Climate One
The increase in weather-driven disasters over the past few years has given rise to a whole new branch of legalese, known as “Disaster Law.” Laura Tuggle of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services helps disaster survivors navigate the muddy waters of federal relief, insurance claims and inheritance rights.
Tags: Natural Disasters
Investigative (Kansas, NATIONAL)

When Medical Debt Collectors Decide Who Gets Arrested

October 16, 2019 | ProPublica
Welcome to Coffeyville, Kansas, where the judge has no law degree, debt collectors get a cut of the bail, and Americans are watching their lives — and liberty — disappear in the pursuit of medical debt collection.
Tags: Debt Collection
News Story (Colorado)

Some doctors can write a prescription for legal services that might mean housing for a family

October 14, 2019 | Denverite
Thanks to an unusual specialist at her primary care clinic, Beth Lawler Stichter got a remedy for what many may not see as a medical problem. “I was homeless,” Lawler Stichter said.
Tags: Medical-Legal Partnerships
Op-Ed (Massachusetts)

Online self-help center would level legal playing field

October 8, 2019 | MassLive
By developing an online self-help center, Massachusetts has the opportunity to make our civil courts fairer for people forced to represent themselves.
Tags: Pro Se/Self-Help

A cancer survivor paid an old debt, but collectors garnished her wages anyway. It’s part of a disturbing trend that’s about to get worse.

September 6, 2019 | Business Insider
A few large debt-buying corporations overload our civil courts against powerless defendants who can't afford the legal help to defend themselves.
Tags: Debt Collection
Op-Ed (NATIONAL, Ohio)

Confronting Domestic Abuse: How Legal Aid Provided a Lifeline When I Needed It

August 9, 2019 | Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)
I think it’s important for people to know that I was extremely fortunate. Many women don’t get the chance I got. One of the biggest hurdles to ending a situation like mine is getting legal help to end it.
Tags: Domestic Violence

Justice Ain’t Much if You Can’t Afford It. America Needs to Overhaul Its Civil Law

July 18, 2019 | Newsweek
There is a crisis in this country's civil justice system, but with new resolve and investment in systemic reforms and civil legal aid, we can achieve Fannie Lou Hamer's vision of a civil justice system that fulfills America's promise of justice for all.
Tags: Civil Justice Reform
Letter to Editor (NATIONAL)

We need more lawyers

June 16, 2019 | Washington Post
Perhaps corporations need fewer legal services, but meanwhile, most Americans — and especially those struggling to make ends meet — can’t get the legal help they need to address serious life challenges.
Tags: Law Schools
News Story (Ohio)

Legal Aid ‘securing stability’ for low-income clients, report shows

June 16, 2019 | Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)
The report, the first of its kind measuring the impact of civil legal services, bolsters anecdotal evidence that removing even a single legal obstacle can be transformational for a client, Steven McGarrity, executive director of Community Legal Aid, said.
Tags: Access to Justice | Report
Interview (NATIONAL)

White House Cuts Activities Funding For Unaccompanied Migrant Children

June 6, 2019 | National Public Radio (NPR)
NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense, about the discontinuation of funds for English classes and legal aid for unaccompanied child migrants in U.S. shelters.
Tags: Migrant Children
News Story (Pennsylvania)

New $65M legal center hopes to be game changer for Philly’s poor

May 28, 2019 | WHYY (PA)
Low-income residents in need of free legal services will soon be better connected to Philadelphia’s network of non-profit resources.
Tags: Access to Justice
News Story (Virginia)

Tenants facing eviction almost never have lawyers. Now, an attorney trawls a courthouse lobby handing out free advice

May 15, 2019 | Virginia Mercury
Tenants facing eviction in Virginia are almost never represented by lawyers. But that’s about to change as a flood of cash begins to flow to legal aid groups around the state.
Tags: Housing: Eviction
News Story (Texas)

ICE is denying migrants rightful access to lawyers, legal group says

May 9, 2019 | USA Today
Lawyers with the nonprofit Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES, said policy changes at the Karnes County, Texas, center run counter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement standards and improperly deny migrants legal services.
Tags: Deportation
News Story (NATIONAL)

General Counsel Request More Funding for Legal Services Corp.

April 29, 2019 | Bloomberg
This is the third year in a row that the Trump administration has threatened to defund LSC, the nation’s single largest sponsor of civil legal aid, despite bipartisan support for the group.
Tags: Funding: Federal
Interview (NATIONAL)

Legal Aid Vet Bergmark Dishes On Rising Up For Civil Justice

April 21, 2019 | Law360
Last month, Voices launched All Rise for Civil Justice, a platform providing stories of people about the people enmeshed in the world of bankruptcy, debt-collection, divorce, tenant-landlord disagreements, child custody battles, benefits challenges and more.
Tags: Access to Justice
Audio (New York)

‘Someone To Speak For You’: Low-Income Tenants Get Lawyers For Housing Court

April 3, 2019 | National Public Radio (NPR)
The right to counsel program, signed into law in 2017, is meant to address the legal disparity in a city where historically only one in 10 tenants in housing court had a lawyer, while most landlords had legal representation.
Tags: Civil Right to Counsel | Housing: Eviction
News Story (Louisiana)

In Louisiana civil courts, the poor are left to defend themselves

March 14, 2019 | Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA)
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services – a nonprofit that provides free legal representation in 22 parishes, including Orleans – does what it can to fill the gap and meet the substantial demand, but it does so with limited resources.
Tags: Access to Justice | Funding: State & Local
News Story (Michigan)

Group wants renters to have lawyers in eviction cases

March 12, 2019 | Detroit News
A group of lawyers and business leaders, along with renters like Fite, gathered Tuesday for a one-day conference called "Detroit Eviction Right To Counsel Summit" to push a proposal to guarantee a lawyer for all poor renters facing eviction in Detroit.
Tags: Civil Right to Counsel | Housing: Eviction
Feature (North Carolina)

Evictions remain stubbornly high in Buncombe County despite booming economy

March 1, 2019 | Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
"The whole point of this is to be here for the people who don’t know about Pisgah Legal Services, and they don’t know they have rights (as tenants) under North Carolina law,” said David Bartholomew, an attorney with PLS.
Tags: Housing: Eviction | Housing: Landlord-Tenant
Feature (NATIONAL)

The Four Ideas That Could Define Housing Policy in 2019

February 14, 2019 | Huffington Post
After years of inaction, states and cities are taking aggressive steps to protect renters and bring costs down.
Tags: Housing
Interview, Profile (NATIONAL)

Everyone Needs Legal Help. That Doesn’t Mean Everyone Needs a Lawyer.

February 13, 2019 | New York Times (NYT)
Rebecca Sandefur, a sociologist and researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, believes America needs a new model for handling everyday legal issues.
Tags: Access to Justice
Op-Ed (Maryland, NATIONAL)

In touting First Step at SOTU, Trump forgot about hidden obstacles to success

February 12, 2019 | USA Today
What former inmates need most is help once they re-enter society. Where's the mandate providing legal services, job security for those released early?
Tags: Expungement / Record Sealing | Reentry
Op-Ed (New Hampshire)

We must give domestic violence survivors the legal aid they need

February 10, 2019 | Concord Monitor (NH)
The root causes of domestic violence are complex, and there is no single policy or program that can prevent it. But there is one critical step our state can take to improve the lives of survivors: We can ensure they have access to legal help, regardless of their ability to pay.
Tags: Domestic Violence