LAM and MCBA to co-host 2018 Pro Bono Appreciation Luncheon on Wed. March 28
Legal Aid of Marin and the Marin County Bar Association are proud to co-host the 2018 Pro Bono Appreciation Luncheon honoring our community’s outstanding pro bono providers of the past year. The special awards luncheon will be held at noon on Wednesday, March 28 in the Four Points by Sheraton in San Rafael.
Featured keynote speaker, attorney J. Timothy Nardell (Nardell Chitsaz & Associates LLP), he is a graduate of UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, has been a civil litigator for over 20 years and has been recognized as a Super Lawyer for Northern California every year for the last decade. Tim contacted Legal Aid about how he could best help Marin’s low income immigrant residents. He immediately jumped in and has taken on several housing and employment matters from Legal Aid of
Marin on behalf of low income and immigrant workers and tenants. After personally inspecting an apartment complex and meeting with tenants and residents about habitability issues, Tim agreed to represent the tenants in their fight for better housing. In addition, Tim brought to quick and successful resolution the wrongful termination and wage violation case of a low income senior who was extremely grateful for Tim’s efficient and excellent results.
The luncheon will also honor 81 attorneys and 16 community volunteers with special recognition given to recipients of the Wiley W. Manuel Award. Issued by the State Bar of California to those with 50 or more hours of pro bono service, the award is named in honor of Wiley W. Manuel, an associate justice of the Supreme Court of California from 1977-1981. Judge Manuel was the first African American to serve on the high court.
Fall funding is crucial to continuing LAM’s work empowering Marin elders, protecting family life, helping debtors, and lessening the burden on our Superior Court.
This Fall’s year end appeal from November 1st-December 31st will bring critical funding to Legal Aid of Marin. Following the loss of two major funding sources in 2016, LAM has dramatically reduced revenues, forcing the Agency to reduce its overhead and administrative costs by 15 percent. Under the direction of LAM’s new Executive Director, David Snyder, the nonprofit is vigorously working to shift its future primary funding to new grants, local businesses, and individual donors. LAM is already seeing positive results from these efforts; however, year-end donations now are critical to avoiding further staff cutbacks in early 2017.
LAM provides high quality, free legal services to Marin’s older residents (regardless of income) and to vulnerable, low-income persons in our community. In 2015 LAM closed 1,348 cases, benefitting 969 children, 405 seniors; 317 persons with disabilities; 57 veterans, and 402 clients for whom English was not their first language. LAM helps clients with housing needs, job rights, family safety, and elder law issues. The innovative Marin Community Court and the Superior Court -Mandatory Settlement Conference programs continue to thrive, along with our Pro Bono Clinics at Whistlestop and the Mill Valley Community Center.
Bridging the “justice gap” in Marin provides significant economic benefits to the entire community. A recent study determined that LAM’s services and operations during a three-year period produced an economic multiplier effect of $2.2 million revenue brought into Marin County, plus an estimated $3.1 million cost savings for the community due to the reduced need for emergency shelter, saved eviction costs for landlords and local governments, and reduced incidence and cost of domestic violence. LAM’s critical work helps Marin County children stay in school, contributes to a more stable workforce for employers, and lessens the burden on our Superior Court.
6:00pm Cocktails, dinner by Sweetwater 7:30pm Special program Recognizing The Honorable Beverly K. Wood Fund-A-Need 8:30pm Musical entertainment Marin All Star Band For more information, please contact our David Snyder at (415) 492-0230 x310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Among the exciting auction items for this year’s Jam For Justice include Golden State Warriors four-near-the-floor tickets (for 2017 season); four tickets to Giants KNBR luxury suite and the ever-popular Legal Aid of Marin Board of Directors Wine Cellar.
LAM and MCBA to co-host 2016 Pro Bono Appreciation Luncheon on Wed. March 23
Keynote speakers inlcude Barbara Monty (Monty White LLP) and David Baer (Hartog, Baer & Hand P.C.).
Legal Aid of Marin and the Marin County Bar Association are proud to co-host the 2016 Pro Bono Appreciation Luncheon honoring our community’s outstanding pro bono providers of the past year. The special awards luncheon will be held in conjunction with the MCBA general membership meeting at noon on Wednesday, March 23 in the McInnis Park Club Restaurant in San Rafael.
For more than a year and half, Barbara Monty co-counseled with LAM to help secure a major victory for a group of older adults facing severe elder abuse from the management of their subsidized senior housing project.
At a Marin Probate Court in May of 2015, David Baer represented a LAM client who had been living in her car. Baer negotiated a settlement that awarded her fair share of the family trust. David and his legal assistant Cynthia M. Tallent invested upwards of 90 collective hours to assist LAM on the case.
The luncheon will also honor more than 200 attorneys and volunteers with special recognition given to recipients of the Wiley W. Manuel Award. Issued by the State Bar of California to those with 50 or more hours of pro bono service, the award is named in honor of Wiley W. Manuel, an associate justice of the Supreme Court of California from 1977-1981. Judge Manuel was the first African American to serve on the high court.
For table sponsorship information, contact LAM Pro Bono and Volunteer Manager Nancy Murphy: email@example.com; (415) 492-0230, Ext. 308.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
PRESENTING SPONSOR: MORRISON & FOERSTER LLP
HARTOG BAER & HAND
MONTY WHITE LLP
EPSTEIN LAW FIRM
KEEGIN HARRISON | SCHOPPERT SMITH & KARNER LLP
THE MARNE LAW GROUP
Annual Report 2015
LAM's Annual Report for 2015 documents the impact we make for Marin's residents.
For nearly 60 years, Legal Aid of Marin has helped thousands of low-income Marin County residents address critical legal issues directly affecting their homes, incomes, jobs and families. Our work protects and serves Marin’s most vulnerable residents by providing access to legal justice.
LAM creates progressive economic and social impacts that help make Marin County a better place.
For more on how LAM makes a direct impact in Marin download our 2015 Annual Report below.
Announcing 2015 Pro Bono Appreciation Luncheon and Wiley W. Manuel Award Winners
LAM and the MCBA will co-host the 2015 Pro Bono Appreciation Luncheon on Wed. March 25 at the McInnis Park Club Restaurant in San Rafael. Tickets $45-$50
Legal Aid of Marin and the Marin County Bar Association are proud to co-host the 2015 Pro Bono Appreciation Luncheon honoring our community’s outstanding pro bono providers of the past year. The special awards luncheon will be held in conjunction with the MCBA general membership meeting at noon on Wednesday, March 25 in the McInnis Park Club Restaurant in San Rafael.
Tickets for the event are $45 for MCBA members; $50 for non-members, and can be purchased through the MCBA web site.
Guest speakers for the event include attorneys Charles Ostertag and Christina Sherman. LAM Executive Director Paul Cohen and The Hon. Faye D’Opal will introduce and present this year’s Wiley W. Manuel Awards. The event honors more than 200 attorneys and non-attorneys, with special recognition given to recipients of the Wiley W. Manuel Award. Issued by the State Bar of California to those with 50 or more hours of pro bono service, the award is named in honor of Wiley W. Manuel, an associate justice of the Supreme Court of California from 1977-1981. Judge Manuel was the first African American to serve on the high court.
2015 Wiley W. Manuel Award recipients include attorneys Laura Haley, Shirley Hochhausen, Robert Kane, Charles Ostertag, James Poindexter, Michael Samuels, Colleen Shaw, Christina Sherman, Candice Shih, Kyle Smith, Sara Wilson and The Honorable Beverly Wood; Non-attorney recognition goes to Beth Brandes, Nicole Cabrera, Christina Fathi, Jenny Finden-Watson, Jessica Guest, Ridhi Goswami, Karen Karlow, Iris Kokish, Hoang Leclerc, Linda Patch, Maria Rodriguez, Roberta Schwarz, Vince Simpson, and Alex Taufer.
Honorable Mention recognition will made for the following attorneys and non-attorneys, who provided valuable assistance to LAM and/or contributed 20-49 hours in 2014: Gordon Atkinson, Lisa Bellard, Luisa Bigornia, Larry Bragman, Matthew Briggs, Tim Chambers, Karen Carrera, Nathaniel Cooper, Jennifer Ellis, Richard Helzberg, Debbie Holstedt, Kadhine Fitz-Patrick, Julia Goldman, Johanna Gomez, Robert Harrison, Neha Hemmad, Clarisssa Kearns, Hanna Kecskes, Martha Kirubi, Shelley Kramer, Marc Litchenberg, Goli Mahdavi, Janice Mock, Phillip Neiman, Leonard Rifkind, Ryan Russell, Robert Sammis, George Shea, Andrew Schwartz, Frank Sommers, Sander Stadtler, Linda Swanson, Larry Strick, and Debra Whitehouse.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
Hanson Bridgett LLP (Presenting Sponsor)
The Goldman Law Firm
Keegin Harrison, Schoppert Smith & Karner
The Marne Law Group
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Law Offices of Christina Sherman
Annual Report 2014
LAM Annual Report for 2014 documents the impact we make for Marin's most vulnerable residents.
In 2014, Legal Aid of Marin served more than 2,000 households, and in the new year we are working hard towards even more effective outreach and advocacy.
The 2014 Annual Report documents the stories, facts and figures that made 2014 a better year for us and our clients. It is available for download here.
Legal Aid reaches deal in eviction, billing case with Marin housing agency
This story by reporter Richard Halstead appeared in the Marin Independent Journal on September 4, 2014
Legal Aid of Marin says it has won a victory for tenants following settlement of a class action complaint against the Marin Housing Authority over eviction and billing practices.
“We set out to change what we believed to be unfair practices by MHA. As a result of our action, MHA made changes to these practices, which is a victory for all housing authority residents,” said Paul Cohen, Legal Aid of Marin’s executive director, in a prepared statement.
The Housing Authority, which manages much of Marin County’s public housing, said that the changes were the result of its “independent, voluntary decisions.” The Housing Authority’s executive director, Lewis Jordan, could not be reached for comment.
Legal Aid of Marin’s suit, filed in September 2012, alleged that the Housing Authority billed a number of tenants for questionable repairs and fees and then evicted them when they couldn’t pay their rents.
Legal Aid also alleged that the Housing Authority was failing to timely decrease rents when tenants’ income decreased.
The complaint asserted that the Housing Authority violated federal regulations relating to eviction and grievance procedures, rent payment allocations, collection of late fees, legal fees and maintenance fees.
Prior to the settlement, which was approved by the court in July, the Housing Authority agreed to refund more than 1,000 transactions to 565 present and former tenants totaling some $104,000, according to Legal Aid officials. The transactions involved rent, maintenance and other fees that were repeatedly miscalculated or misallocated by the Housing Authority, according to officials.
The Housing Authority also agreed to two years of community oversight by the United States District Court, Northern District of California if it violates any terms of the settlement. Cohen said Legal Aid of Marin will monitor the Housing Authority’s service to its tenants for the next two years.
Legal Aid of Marin was assisted by lawyers Frank Sommers and Andrew Schwartz of Sommers & Schwartz, a San Francisco firm with experience in civil rights cases. The Housing Authority’s insurers will pay $400,000 in legal fees to Sommers & Schwartz and Legal Aid of Marin as part of the settlement agreement.
Spring Bash 2014
An evening of exciting food and lively music benefitting Legal Aid of Marin
Marin Community Court marks three years of helping poor defendants
Megan Hansen reports on LAM's success with Marin Community Court in the Marin Independent Journal.
It’s been three years since Marin Community Court started helping homeless and financially strapped residents deal with their outstanding citations, and the program has grown to include a list of more than a thousand participants.
A collaboration among Legal Aid of Marin, the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin County and Marin County Superior Court, the community court set up shop in the St. Vincent de Paul Society free dining room in San Rafael in April 2011, hoping to help about 30 people each month. That number has surged to 50 people a month within the last year, with 80 to 100 people a month asking to participate.
“It’s so popular that the demand is higher than what we can actually help with each month,” said Legal Aid of Marin attorney Maura Prendiville, who helped found the program.
The court, held on the second Tuesday of each month, is presided over by Judge Beverly Wood, who hears noncriminal cases ranging from unpaid vehicle registrations to tickets for sleeping or urinating outside. In exchange for voiding unpaid fines and tickets, Wood gives sentences such as community service hours or attending parenting classes.
“We do it by having them give back to the community or doing something that’s tailored to them to help improve their situation,” Wood said.
Prendiville said the experience is less intimidating than going to a courtroom, and the sentences are meant to help, not harm, participants.
“They may be required to go meet with a caseworker at a social services agency or they may do a job hunting log,” Prendiville said.
When Marin resident Terry Cates received a traffic ticket in December, he had no idea he’d eventually end up attending Marin Community Court — twice. His $300 ticket grew to $600 when he forgot to pay it off, and he couldn’t afford the bill.
“In the meantime, I lost my job and my home,” Cates said. “Everything went to hell.”
Though still homeless, Cates is doing what he can to get back on his feet. On Tuesday he asked Wood, who agreed, to extend his deadline for completing 10 hours of community service as he’s also taking multiple classes through the county’s Children and Family Services department in an effort to see his children more.
“I didn’t finish all of my hours,” Cates said. “She’s very reasonable.”
Wood was also able Tuesday to resolve a legal matter for Mary Elizabeth Davis of Marin City that has her on track to obtain a driver’s license again.
When Davis was stopped recently by the sheriff’s department for having an expired registration and not having proof of insurance on hand, she received a $350 ticket. Before she was able to pay the ticket, she traveled to Hawaii to help her daughter through a difficult pregnancy.
When she came back, the ticket had been submitted to a collection’s agency and had increased to $1,600.
“I’m a single mom and grandmother on disability,” Davis said. “I live on a very tight budget.”
Unable to pay the fine, Davis made a deal with Wood to complete 20 hours of community service and obtain car insurance. Even though she’s done with her sentence, Davis said she plans to continue her community service work.
“It makes so much more sense to do community service hours because I know there’s a lot of other people like me who can’t afford the tickets,” Davis said. “When I do get my license back, it’ll be golden.”
Before starting the community court, Prendiville said she was already holding office hours at St. Vincent’s twice a month to help clients with legal issues. She got the idea to start the program after contacting officials in Humboldt County, where there is a homeless court, to help a client resolve a ticket for sleeping outside. With the help of Cris Jones, a volunteer director at St. Vincent’s, and Wood, the program took flight.
Paul Cohen, executive director of Legal Aid of Marin, said the court program has been a labor of love, involving volunteer attorneys, a volunteer court clerk and a volunteer bailiff. He said last year was the first year the program received stable funding from the Peter E. Haas Jr. Family Fund, which gives grants in support of the mission of the Marin Community Foundation.
Cohen said funds that were traditionally given to Legal Aid of Marin were redirected specifically to the court. Though the court has a part-time worker overseeing the program, Cohen said they’d like to be able to make that a full-time position.
In addition to applying for grants, Cohen has dabbled in online crowd-funding campaigns to support the program. A monthlong campaign asking people to support the court ends Sunday, but an anonymous donor has pledged to match all donations made to the court through Legal Aid of Marin through June. As of Tuesday evening, the site had raised $3,280 of its $15,000 goal.
“I learned about crowd-funding from my daughter’s boyfriend,” Cohen said. “I tried it for an affordable housing campaign, but this one has been more successful.”
Though the court is currently at capacity and can’t handle much more expansion, Wood said she hopes the program will be adopted in other communities.
“I’d love to see this expanded to other counties in the state,” Wood said.
To donate to the Marin Community Court program’s online campaign, visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/marin-cares through Sunday. Donations made to the program through June will be matched by an anonymous donor.
Donations can also be made to the program through Legal Aid of Marin, 30 North San Pedro Road, Suite 220, San Rafael, CA 94903.