Legal Counsel for the Elderly
Legal Counsel for the Elderly
601 E Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20049
LCE'S PRO BONO OPPORTUNITIES:October 15, 2007
1a. PRO BONO WILLS & POWERS OF ATTORNEY. We have many new cases available for referral.We provide sample forms and interview sheets.
1b.PRO BONO HOME VISIT WILLS & POWERS OF ATTORNEY.We have homebound clients who need wills and powers of attorney.
2.LCE STAFF ATTORNEY SEEKS CO-COUNSEL FOR REAL PROPERTY LITIGATION. (Referred)
3.MORTGAGE PAYMENTS PROBLEM. (Under conflicts review with a potential backup)
4.LANDLORD/TENANT ACTION IN THE OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS. The landlord filed a "substantial rehabilitation petition" with the D.C. Rent Administer, claiming that the apartment building needs substantial rehabilitation that cannot be performed with the tenants in place, and that requires a rent increase as large as 125% of the current rent. This client has lived in her apartment for 9 years with her husband, who has intensive care giving needs. Legal Counsel for the Elderly's home visit to the apartment unit found that the client maintained the unit well, given the health and safety concerns in the unit and apartment building as a whole, including mice infestation; loose hallway treads, which create a mobility hazard; lack of handrails in the rear stairway; inadequate lock to the front door; an inoperable smoke detector, plus many other apparent housing code violations. LCE seeks a pro bono lawyer to co-counsel with them to defend against the substantial rehabilitation petition, the rent increase, and to advocate for repairs to the client's unit. Jennifer Berger, Supervisory Legal Aid Attorney at LCE has prepared a well-developed file with solid defenses, including the lack of a detailed plan for the proposed rehabilitation, as required in the applicable DC regulations. Expert witnesses will be important to defend against this petition. November 13, 2007 is the witness and exhibit deadline. THE LCE STAFF ATTORNEY JUST INFORMED US THAT SHE IS WILLING TO CO-COUNSEL THE CASE AND PERFORM THE BULK OF THE WORK. HER MAIN PURPOSE for SEEKING PRO BONO COUNSEL IS TO ENABLE HER LOW-INCOME CLIENT TOOBTAIN FUNDS FROM A LAW FIRM TO PAY FOR EXPERT WITNESSES AND OTHER EVIDENCE. Please agree to help to ensure that this client's inability to pay these costs does not preclude her from having equal access to justice!
5. MOTION TO MODIFY CUSTODY HEARING REGARDING CLIENT'S THREE GRANDCHILDREN. This older grandmother seeks legal representation to defend against her daughter's Motion to Modify Custody over her three minor children. The client-grandmother has had court-ordered custody over her grandchildren since July of 2002. The client received an order from the court, scheduling a hearing on the Motion to Modify Custody on November 6, 2007. However, this is the first notice that the client received on this matter. She was not served the motion, which is supported by the lack of evidence of service in the D.C. Superior Court's e-filing system. LCE staff drafted a pro se Motion to Dismiss for failure of service of process. The client was instructed to file the motion with the court. (By way of background, the daughter first tried to provide the client a copy of a Complaint for Custody. It appears that the daughter never filed this complaint with the court. Even if she had, the daughter's complaint would have been ineffective because the court already awarded the grandmother custody in 2002. Therefore, the acceptable procedural device is the Motion to Modify, not a Complaint for Custody.) The children visit the mother occasionally. At the last visit, she convinced one of her children to sign her mother's name on a legal document. The client seeks an attorney to represent her on November 6th and thereafter if the daughter pursues her efforts to obtain custody over her three minor children.
1d.BULK WILLS & POWER OF ATTORNEY PROJECT. For years, many D.C. law firms have been accepting one or two pro bono wills and powers of attorney cases at a time. We greatly appreciate this and look forward to a long association with the D.C. law firms. However, this is a very laborious process from LCE's point of view. Legal Counsel for the Elderly would be able to reach many more needy, older clients and serve them much more efficiently if law firms would agree to make a commitment to accept ten or more cases per year on a rolling basis (e.g., one or two at a time up to a limit of 10 or another set number). This procedure would be a giant leap forward in LCE's ability to place these cases and refer them in an efficient and effective manner. Moreover, the Bulk Wills Project would allow law firms to establish good systems in this area to improve their efficiency as well.
2. ADOPTION OF THE ALTERNATIVES PROJECT & THE ELDER BUDDIES PROGRAM. Legal Counsel for the Elderly's Alternatives Project focuses on elderly tenants in danger of losing their homes because of alleged lease violations, most commonly, hoarding (where it creates a fire hazard), or non-payment of rent due to diminished capacity or financial exploitation by a third party. The Alternatives Program provides an opportunity for a law firm to "adopt" it as a signature program in which volunteers from the law firm (both attorneys and non-attorneys) work with a crew, known as "Elder Buddies" who go into the older person's home and de-clutter the place to remedy alleged lease violations and to prevent an eviction. Additionally, attorneys in the firm would be called upon to work with the LCE's supervising attorney for the Alternatives Project to assist with the representation of tenants in landlord/tenant court and other venues in those situations where litigation to enforce housing code violations is unavoidable. If you are interested in this wonderful opportunity, please contactLCE Supervisory Attorney Jennifer Berger at 202-434-2155.
3.LCE'S MONEY MANAGEMENT PROJECT. Legal Counsel for the Elderly's Money Management Program is seeking volunteers to help low-income seniors in D.C. with trouble budgeting, paying routine bills and keeping track of financial matters. The program's goal is to promote and prolong independent living for individuals at risk of losing their independence due to their inability to manage their finances. The program matches volunteers with clients needing help. The volunteers assist by writing checks for the client to sign, ensuring that the client pays bills on time and balances the client's checkbook. Some volunteers also agree to serve as the representatives payees through the Social Security Administration. The Money Management Program's work is essential to preventing eviction of older tenants for non-payment of rent resulting from their inability to write checks and manage their money. This opportunity is open to attorneys, paralegals and legal secretaries! If you are interested in the above tasks, please contact LCE's Money Management Program Coordinator Carol Matthews at 202-434-2172. The time commitment varies, but normally takes only about two to four hours per month. All volunteers receive appropriate training.
4.ADOPT A NURSING HOME. Legal Counsel for the Elderly's Long-term Care Ombudsman Program monitors the quality of care in nursing homes and board and care homes. A skeletal staff and a cadre of volunteers perform this critical work. The ombudsman program is stretched very thinly, especially since a large D.C. nursing home and perhaps another will close in the next year. A law firm could "adopt" a D.C. nursing home that intends to close. The firm could be responsible for working with the D.C. Long-Term Care Ombudsman to follow up on complaints and/or work with staff on discharge and transfer plans for the vulnerable residents of these closing facilities. If you are interested in this project, please contact the D.C. Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Gerald Kasunic at 202-434-2140.
DONATIONS:Legal Counsel for the Elderly would greatly appreciate yourfully tax-deductible donation made payable to Legal Counsel for the Elderly, VLP, 601 E. Street N. W., Washington, D. C. 20049. Your donations will help ensure the continued delivery of free legal services to the impoverished elderly in the District.
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UPCOMING LEGAL TRAININGS AT THE D.C. BAR:
LANDLORD/TENANT PRACTICE & RENT CONTROL IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Friday, October 19, 2007. 9:00 pm - 5:00 pm. D.C. Bar, 1250 H Street N.W., Washington, D.C. To register, please go on-line to www.dcbar.org/probono.
BANKRUPTCY TRAINING FOR PRO BON ATTORNEYS: Friday, November 9, 2007. 9:00 am -5:00 pm. D.C. Bar, 1250 H Street N.W., Washington, D.C. To register, please go on-line to www.dcbar.org/probono.
EMPLOYMENT LAW: WAGE/HOUR & EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION. Sponsored by the DC Bar Pro Bono Program, Friday, November 2, 2007. 9:00 am -5:00 pm. D.C. Bar, 1250 H Street N.W., Washington, D.C. Register on line at www.dcbar.org/probono
PROVIDING PRO BONO REPRESENTATION BEFORE THE US COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS' CLAIMS. Friday, November 16, 2007, 9:00 am -5:00 pm. D.C. Bar, 1250 H Street N.W., Washington, D.C. Register on line at www.dcbar.org/probono
Your continued participation in Legal Counsel for the Elderly's pro bono program will help ensure that the most vulnerable members of our community - the elderly in our nation's capital - will obtain legal representation. Please review the attached list of cases. If you are unable to accept a case at this time,please refer this notice to another attorney within your office. We recognize that your time is valuable and limited, but we hope that you will consider accepting a pro bono case.We are confident that you will find your pro bono work rewarding and fulfilling. Our clients are very appreciative of your time and legal services.
To make yourpro bono work as "painless" as possible, Legal Counsel for the Elderly has a host of services to assist you, including advice from legal experts in elder and poverty law, sample pleadings for wills and powers of attorney, as well as interview rooms, located just a few short blocks from the D.C. courthouses.For your protection, your representation on an LCEpro bono case is covered under Legal Counsel for the Elderly's legal malpractice insurance.For this reason, we closely monitor all cases referred to attorneys until their closure.Periodically, our staff will contact you by e-mail to obtain a status report on thepro bono case and address any concerns.