July 2014 Barristers Pro Bono Newsletter

Dear Barristers,

The mission if the Barristers Pro Bono Committee and this Newsletter is to match members of our community who are in need of free legal services, with the abundance of young lawyers who are in need of practical legal experience.  Read more about this ideal match in a recent Bar Brief article entitled, Match Made in Bar Heaven.

To facilitate said pairing, we encourage you to volunteer for pro bono work by taking advantage of one or more of the many opportunities listed below!

BHBA BARRISTERS

Barristers Monthly Free Legal Clinic

Volunteer the first Saturday of each month (note: July clinic held on second Saturday due to holiday) at our very own BHBA Monthly Free Legal Clinic at Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills, where volunteer attorneys answer legal questions presented by the public! Join us Saturday, July 12, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  If you are interested in volunteering, or want more information please feel free to contact co-chairs Brian Smith, or Wil Wenzel.

PUBLIC COUNSEL

As many of you know, the BHBA was a founder of Public Counsel, which is the nation’s largest pro bono law firm in the nation and helps more than 30,000 people every year through the power of law. Public Counsel's activities are far-ranging, and impact a wide array of people who live at or below the poverty level. Volunteer lawyers, law students, and legal professionals have the opportunity to work on a variety of different projects. For more information on Public Counsel, please contact their Pro Bono Director David Daniels.

Children’s Rights Project – Force for Foster Youth Team

Public Counsel’s Children’s Rights Project (CRP) is building a new team of 25 to 30 attorneys to help non-minor dependent youth resolve outstanding tickets and warrants in the courts. Volunteer attorneys should expect to take on up to four cases per year. Each individual case should no more than 7 to 10 hours to resolve – many of these tickets are dismissed by the courts outright in the interest of justice once the jurist learns of the foster youth status of the client. Want to join the team? Please contact CRP’s Senior Staff Attorney Ruth Cusick.

Bankruptcy Self-Help Desk and Clinic

Public Counsel seeks volunteer attorneys who wish to help individuals through the bankruptcy process, either by counseling individuals one-on-one at the self-help desk, or by presenting to a group in a workshop-style clinic. Volunteers will gain valuable client-counseling skills and increase the breadth of their bankruptcy knowledge due to the plethora of bankruptcy and bankruptcy-related issues that arise at the Bankruptcy Self-help Desk and Clinic. The Self-help Desk, located at the Federal Building, is open to the public on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Clinics are held every other Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Public Counsel office.  Please contact Maggie Bordeaux for more information.

Bankruptcy Reaffirmation Hearings

Public Counsel is also seeking attorneys who want to gain valuable client-counseling skills by advising debtors regarding the consequences of reaffirming a particular debt prior to their reaffirmation hearing. Reaffirmation Hearings take place at the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Court and the Woodland Hills Bankruptcy Court.  Please contact Maggie Bordeaux for more information.

BET TZEDEK LEGAL SERVICES

Bet Tzedek provides assistance to all eligible needy residents throughout Los Angeles County, regardless of racial, religious, or ethnic background. Bet Tzedek's pioneering projects combine direct legal representation with outreach, education, and legislative advocacy, resulting in equal access to justice for over 15,000 low-income Angelenos last year alone.  For more information, or to volunteer for one of the listed opportunities, please contact Bet Tzedek's Pro Bono Director, Diego Cartagena.

Real Estate Fraud/Financial Elder Abuse

Bet Tzedek is seeking an attorney with real estate experience who has litigated in probate court to serve as pro bono counsel in a real estate fraud and financial elder abuse matter. The case involves helping an elder veteran with Alzheimer’s disease remove a fraudulent deed of trust from his home, and obtain damages for elder abuse. You can view a memo on the issues by clicking here.

Estate Planning Matter

Bet Tzedek is seeking an attorney with estate planning experience to serve as pro bono counsel to help an elderly client with his estate planning needs. You can view a memo on the issue by clicking here.

Small Claims Spanish Clinic

Bet Tzedek is seeking the assistance of Spanish-speaking attorneys to volunteer at the Spanish-language session of its Small Claims Clinic. The clinic is held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at Southwestern Law School. The next clinics are scheduled for July 10 and August 14.  Click here to find information regarding the clinic!

CHRISTIANCHRISTIAN LEGAL AID OF LOS ANGELES

Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles (CLA-LA) believes that pursuing "justice for all" is the best way to offer a hand-up to the most vulnerable in society. CLA-LA is a non-profit corporation, which assists clients regardless of their religion, race, color, creed, national original, ancestry, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or age. CLA-LA offers free legal services to the poor throughout Los Angeles County and provides volunteers with training, fellowship, and FREE MCLE opportunities. For more information on CLA-LA and their offerings, please contact their Legal Fellow, Sarah McKendricks.

FREE MLCE Immigration Trainings at LA Law Library

Join CLA-LA for a full day of FREE MCLE training and lunch on Immigration at the LA Law Library on July 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Various attorneys and CLA volunteers will be teaching on a variety of immigration-related topics. Up to 2.5 MCLE credits available. Email info@cla-la.org to sign up.

Legal URGENT Care Clinic

CLA-LA is seeking the assistance of attorneys, law students and paralegals to volunteer at their upcoming Legal URGENT Care Clinics. Upcoming clinics will be held from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on July 19 at the DREAM Center in Echo Park, on July 26 at the World Impact School in South Central LA and on August 9 at Cornerstone West LA in Santa Monica. Please email volunteer@cla-la.org to sign up.

ALLIANCE FOR CHILDREN'S RIGHTS

The Alliance for Children's Rights protects the rights of impoverished, abused and neglected children and youth. By providing free legal services and advocacy, the Alliance ensures that children have safe, stable homes, and access to the healthcare and education they need to thrive.  For more information on available opportunities, or if you are interested in volunteering or attending upcoming trainings listed below, please contact the Alliance's Pro bono Director, Laurel Adcock

Special Education Advocacy FREE MCLE

The Alliance is offering a FREE MCLE training on Pro Bono Special Education Advocacy. The training is scheduled for August 20, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 333 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 550. Attorneys will learn to gather necessary records, ensure completion of appropriate assessments, negotiate Individualized Family Service Plan (for children 0-3) and Individualized Education Plan (for children 3+), and challenge inappropriate denials or decisions. After completing the training, attendees will be eligible to work with the Alliance on Education Advocacy cases. Click here for more information.

Foster Care Benefits Cases for Representation

The Alliance is on the lookout for more pro bono attorneys to take benefits cases. By advocating for funding and services, attorneys can help provide a stable home to a child in need. Pro bono attorneys speak with the caregivers, obtain and analyze records, prepare letters, negotiate with the Department of Children and Family Services, draft briefs, prepare for hearing and ensure compliance with judges’ orders.

Legal Guardianship Cases for Representation

The Alliance is also seeking pro bono attorneys to help eligible caregivers obtain legal guardianship of their children by representing them in probate court. Pro bono attorneys meet with the family, prepare the Petition for Guardianship and represent the family at unopposed hearings in probate court. 

We hope you find this Newsletter valuable and look forward to the Barristers taking active roles in these incredible opportunities!

Very truly yours,

Rachel Balchum, Pro bono Committee Co-Chair, and

Autumn Ronda, Pro bono Committee Co-Chair and Barristers President

March Pro Bono Newsletter

Dear Barristers,

The Barristers Pro Bono Committee created this monthly newsletter to connect you with local legal aid organizations, and to encourage you to commit to performing pro bono work, which ultimately results in assistance to the thousands of Los Angeles residents who desperately need access to legal services. Moreover, we recognize that participation in pro bono activities is a great way for young and emerging lawyers to gain the professional experience they require to launch or further their careers.

We are excited to provide you with the March installment of our newsletter and hope that you will take advantage of one or more of the many opportunities listed below!

BHBA BARRISTERS

trainingBarristers/Bet Tzedek Co-Hosted Self-Help Conservatorship Clinic Training

TONIGHT! March 31, at 6 p.m. at the BHBA offices, the Barristers will co-host a FREE MCLE providing the training necessary to volunteer at Bet Tzedek's Self-Help Conservatorship Clinic. This training will provide attendees with an overview of the Limited Conservatorship process, including a basic overview of the substantive law and procedure related to conservatorship practice in Los Angeles County.  The MCLE is offered complimentary to attorneys who commit to volunteering with the Self-Help Conservatorship Clinic.  For more information, and to sign up for the program, please click here!

Barristers/Bet Tzedek Co-Hosted Wage and Hour Training Session

On April 29, at 6 p.m. at the BHBA offices, the Barristers will co-host a FREE MCLE providing the training to participate in Bet Tzedek's Employment Rights Project, which advocates on behalf of various workers, including garment workers, day laborers, and janitors, to rectify labor law abuse. This training will prepare attorney volunteers to represent clients on a wage and hour matter, which requires drafting a trial brief and arguing the case at an administrative hearing where the rules of evidence do not apply. The MCLE is offered complimentary to attorneys who commit to taking on a pro bono wage and hour matter through the Employment Rights Project.  For more information and to sign up for the program please click here!

Barristers Monthly Free Legal Clinic

Volunteer the first Saturday of each month at our very own BHBA Monthly Free Legal Clinic at La Cienega Park in Beverly Hills, where volunteer attorneys answer legal questions presented by the public! Join us Saturday, April 5, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  If you are interested in volunteering or want more information please feel free to contact co-chairs Brian SmithAnton Labrentz or Wil Wenzel

HARRIET BUHAI CENTER FOR FAMILY LAW

The Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law provides free family law assistance and legal education to the poor. The Center’s mission is to empower individuals and families living in poverty, improve access to the courts, and stop domestic violence. Volunteers may expect to address family problems including: divorce, custody and visitation, support, restraining orders, paternity, and division of property. For more information on volunteering, please contact the Center’s Volunteer Coordinator, Elizabeth Beaty.

April 2014 New Volunteer Training

The Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law is hosting a New Volunteer Training on Saturday, April 26th from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Loyola Law School. The deadline for registration is April 23rd (space is limited; there will be no onsite registration). The all-day training for 5.5 MCLE credits provides participants with an introduction to California family law practice and procedure. Attendees will also receive the Center’s “Family Law Basics” manual, which provides detailed information about family law pleadings. To participate in the training, individuals must commit to volunteer with the Center by either completing 50 hours of pro per assistance within a year of the training or by accepting a pro bono case within a year of the training. The cost of this program is $100 for attorneys and $25 for law students.  Click here to view a flyer with details on the program.

PUBLIC COUNSEL

As many of you know, the BHBA was a founder of Public Counsel, which is the nation’s largest pro bono law firm in the nation and helps more than 30,000 people every year through the power of law. Public Counsel's activities are far-ranging, and impact a wide array of people who live at or below the poverty level. Volunteer lawyers, law students, and legal professionals have the opportunity to work on a variety of different projects.

Volunteer Farsi Translator

Public Counsel is representing an Iranian asylum-seeker, and has five documents that need written translation from Farsi into English.  The volunteer need not be a court certified translator, but simply competent in both languages to do the translations.  Public Counsel needs the documents ideally by April 4, but if not, then by April 10.  For more information, please contact Kristen Jackson, Senior Staff Attorney in the Immigrants' Rights Project.

Bankruptcy Self-Help Desk and Clinic

Public Counsel seeks volunteer attorneys who wish to help individuals through the bankruptcy process, either by counseling individuals one-on-one at the self-help desk, or by presenting to a group in a workshop-style clinic. Volunteers will gain valuable client-counseling skills and increase the breadth of their bankruptcy knowledge due to the plethora of bankruptcy and bankruptcy-related issues that arise at the Bankruptcy Self-help Desk and Clinic. The Self-help Desk, located at the Federal Building, is open to the public on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Clinics are held every other Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Public Counsel office.  Please contact Maggie Bordeaux for more information.

Bankruptcy Reaffirmation Hearings

Public Counsel is also seeking attorneys who want to gain valuable client-counseling skills by advising debtors regarding the consequences of reaffirming a particular debt prior to their reaffirmation hearing. Reaffirmation Hearings take place at the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Court and the Woodland Hills Bankruptcy Court.  Please contact Maggie Bordeaux for more information.

ChildrenALLIANCE FOR CHILDREN'S RIGHTS

The Alliance for Children's Rights protects the rights of impoverished, abused and neglected children and youth. By providing free legal services and advocacy, the Alliance ensures that children have safe, stable homes, and access to the healthcare and education they need to thrive.  For more information on available opportunities, or if you are interested in volunteering or attending upcoming trainings listed below, please contact the Alliance's Pro bono Director, Laurel Adcock

Foster Care Benefits Advocacy MCLE

The Alliance is offering two FREE MCLE trainings on Foster Care Benefits Advocacy. The trainings are scheduled for April 30, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and May 8, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m at 333 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 550. The MCLEs will train to represent caregivers on a pro bono basis, advocating for funding and services for children in need. After completing the training, attorneys will be eligible to work with the Alliance on foster care benefits cases.  Click here for more information.

BetBET TZEDEK LEGAL SERVICES

Bet Tzedek provides assistance to all eligible needy residents throughout Los Angeles County, regardless of racial, religious, or ethnic background. Bet Tzedek's pioneering projects combine direct legal representation with outreach, education, and legislative advocacy, resulting in equal access to justice for over 15,000 low-income Angelenos last year alone.  For more information, or to volunteer for one of the listed opportunities, please contact Bet Tzedek's Pro bono Director, Diego Cartagena.

Small Claims Spanish Clinic

Bet Tzedek is seeking the assistance of Spanish-speaking attorneys to volunteer at the Spanish-language session of its Small Claims Clinic. The clinic is held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at Southwestern Law School. The next clinic is scheduled for April 17 (please note: for April, the clinic is on the third Thursday of the month).  Click here to find information regarding the clinic!

Advance Planning Clinic for Low-Income Seniors

Bet Tzedek is seeking the assistance of individuals to help low-income seniors draft Advance Health Care Directives and Statutory Wills by volunteering at an Advance Planning Clinic to be held at the Glendale Senior Center on April 11, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  On April 8, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Bet Tzedek will be providing a FREE MCLE at the Bet Tzedek Legal Services Offices to provide training  on how to meet with, and prepare Advance Health Care Directives and Statutory Wills for, low-income seniors. This training and opportunity is open to attorneys and non-attorneys.

Conservatorship Case for Representation

Bet Tzedek is seeking an attorney to serve as pro bono counsel in a conservatorship case, which involves returning a developmentally disabled young man back to his home where he is supported by his father and can return to his school and support programs. You can view a memo on the issue by clicking here.

CHRISTIANCHRISTIAN LEGAL AID OF LOS ANGELES

Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles (CLA-LA) believes that pursuing "justice for all" is the best way to offer a hand-up to the most vulnerable in society. CLA-LA is a non-profit corporation, which assists clients regardless of their religion, race, color, creed, national original, ancestry, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or age. CLA-LA offers free legal services to the poor throughout Los Angeles County and provides volunteers with training, fellowship, and FREE MCLE opportunities. For more information on CLA-LA and their offerings, please contact their Legal Fellow, Sarah McKendricks.

Legal URGENT Care Clinic & Training on Traffic & Expungement Issues

On April 5, starting at 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., CLA-LA will be hosting a Legal URGENT Care Clinic and FREE MCLE covering Traffic & Expungement Issues. The event will take place at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.

Legal URGENT Care Office Hours

Each week, CLA-LA also hosts legal URGENT Care “office hours” throughout Los Angeles County. This month, office hours will be held at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 16 at the Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, and on April 25 at the LA Law Library.

We hope you find this newsletter valuable and look forward to the Barristers taking active roles in these incredible opportunities!

Very truly yours,

Rachel Balchum, Pro bono Committee Co-Chair, and

Autumn Ronda, Pro bono Committee Co-Chair and Barristers President

Barristers November Pro Bono Newsletter

Dear Barristers,

In an effort to keep you informed of all the wonderful pro bono legal services opportunities available for your participation, this is the second installment my new monthly series of newsletters highlighting some of the many volunteer options available at various legal aid organizations in Los Angeleas County. 

In addition to the organizations highlighted below, we encourage you to volunteer at our very own BHBA Barristers Monthly Free Legal Clinic at La Cienega Park in Beverly Hills on Saturday, December 7th from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (and every first Saturday of the month thereafter)! If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information please feel free to contact co-chairs Brian Smith, Anton Labrentz or Wil Wenzel

Bet Tzedek

Bet Tzedek provides assistance to all eligible needy residents throughout Los Angeles County, regardless of racial, religious, or ethnic background. Bet Tzedek’s pioneering projects combine direct legal representation with outreach, education and legislative advocacy, resulting in equal access to justice for over 15,000 low-income Angelenos last year alone.  Barrister Rachel Balchum is our Liaison to Bet Tzedek and she can help you navigate your way through the various opportunities.

I would like to specifically highlight the following opportunities with Bet Tzedek:

Barrister co-hosted Training Session on Representing Clients in Probate Guardianship Matters: 

On December 16th at 6:00 p.m., at the BHBA offices, the Barristers will co-host a CLE providing the training necessary to participate in Bet Tzedek's Probate Guardianship Kinship Care program. This training will cover the basic aspects of a guardianship case, including completing the court forms, filing the forms with the Los Angeles Superior, providing notice to relevant parties, and what to expect at the court hearing. The CLE is free and open to those attorneys who commit to take on a pro bono guardianship case through the Probate Guardianship Kinship Care program.  Matters are heard in the Los Angeles Superior Court, are uncontested, and typically require between 25 and 35 hours to complete, over the course of approximately 2 to 3 months.  For more information and to sign up for the program please contact Pamela Weston.

Individual Pro Bono Estate Planning Cases

The following are two clients that are in need of pro bono representation for estate planning matters. If you are interested in assisting in either matter, please contact Bet Tzedek’s Pro bono Director, Diego Cartagena.

1.       Two developmentally disabled brothers currently live in a home left to them by their deceased parents.   The home was originally left to the two brothers and their older brother.  Older brother has since passed away.  Although high functioning, the two surviving brothers are not capable of managing the estate and would like a family friend to be appointed as successor trustee.  Deceased brother left debts and an account which may have trust assets co-mingled.  Bet Tzedek would like Pro bono assistance to review the trust, have a family friend appointed as the new trustee, and set up an estate plan (possibly a Special Needs Trust) to maintain the developmentally delayed brothers in the home with all possible services and support. 

2.       Dorothy is a lovely, low-income, disabled elderly widower, aged 79, whose Certified Public Accountant drafted a will, revocable living trust, power of attorney for health care, and general power of attorney for her several years ago. She would like to have these documents reviewed by an attorney in order to make sure they are appropriate.  In particular, Dorothy is a homeowner and wants to ensure her home passes to her 7 adult children with minimal taxes.

Public Counsel

As many of you know, the Beverly Hills Bar Association was a founder of Public Counsel. Public Counsel is now the largest pro bono law firm in the nation. Public Counsel’s staff of 61 attorneys and 52 support staff – including five social workers – along with over 5,000 volunteer lawyers, law students and legal professionals assists over 30,000 children, youth, families, and community organizations every year.  Public Counsel has endless opportunities available for you to get involved and help those who are in need.  Former Barrister President, Jaison Benjamin is our Liaison to Public Counsel and she can help you navigate your way through the various opportunities.

I would like to specifically highlight the following opportunity with Public Counsel:

Foreclosure Prevention Clinic

Please join us at a Foreclosure Prevention Clinic presented by the California Consumer Justice Coalition (CCJC) on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the downtown offices of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), located at 3655 S. Grand Avenue, Suite 250, Los Angeles, CA 90007, to help provide pro bono assistance to homeowners at risk of foreclosure. This event is a collaboration by the following nonprofit legal service organizations: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Bet Tzedek, Los Angeles Legal Aid Foundation (LAFLA), and Public Counsel.

Pro bono volunteers will participate in a short training (don't worry, we will provide you all the information you will need) and then meet with homeowners to conduct an intake interview, provide legal advice and counsel as well as targeted referrals. Staff attorneys will be available at all times to provide assistance.

You don’t have to have expertise in this area of practice, and you don’t need to bring anything with you to the clinic –just your great legal mind and your enthusiasm for pro bonoSign up here!  

If you participate, please let Public Counsel know that you heard about this opportunity via the BHBA Barristers!

American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project

Los Angeles Lunch & Learn

Please join your colleagues in the Los Angeles legal community on December 4th or 5th for a lunchtime discussion about current pro bono opportunities that will assist prisoners on death row.  If you've never thought about working on a death penalty matter—or if you've rejected the idea in the past as either too expensive or too time-consuming—our conversation will surprise and inspire you.

There are now many different opportunities for law firms to make significant pro bono contributions, including challenging prison conditions, administrative regulations, and methods of execution; drafting amicus briefs and clemency petitions; and systemic litigation that will improve due process protections for vulnerable groups. Hundreds of mentally ill and intellectually disabled prisoners without counsel are also looking for volunteer lawyers to become their champions. Our new pro bono model means that firms working in some states will have expert assistance that will significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs and travel.

On December 4th, join us at 12:00 p.m. at Morris Polich & Purdy, 1055 West Seventh Street, Suite 2400, Los Angeles, CA 90017.

On December 5th, join us at 12:00 p.m. at Greenburg Traurig, 1840 Century Park East, Suite 1900, Los Angeles, CA 90067.

Please RSVP here or email Kaitlin Sandin by Monday, December 2nd.

I hope this post helps you make a difference!

All the best,

Autumn Ronda

Barristers President

Beverly Hills Bar Association

 

BHBA / Public Counsel MCLE: “Legal Leaders of the Entertainment Industry Discussing the Do’s and Don’ts of Entertainment Contract Drafting!”

 

Marc Steanberg, Jaison T. Benjamin, Christopher A. Murphy, Theodore A. Russell, Jonathan H. Anschell, David Daniels, Lisa C. Jochums, Hernan Vera, and Zachary S. McGee

Marc Steanberg, Jaison T. Benjamin, Christopher A. Murphy, Theodore A. Russell, Jonathan H. Anschell, David Daniels, Lisa C. Jochums, Hernan Vera, and Zachary S. McGee
 

In a collaborative effort, the BHBA and Public Counsel were pleased to have offered this unique opportunity to hear prominent entertainment legal insiders offering their candid perspectives on drafting and litigating entertainment contracts.  As part of this event, attendees were offered the chance to sign up for a meaningful and discrete pro bono matter that allow them to put into practice some of the important pointers given in the presentation.  Those who signed up for the pro bono experience received their MCLE credit for free.  Another similar opportunity will be offered soon!

Public Counsel’s 2012 William O. Douglas Award Dinner – Honoring Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Weisel

As the Beverly Hills Bar Association founded Public Counsel over 40 years ago, it was an honor to attend Public Counsel's 2012 William O. Douglas Award Dinner where Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel received Public Counsel's 2012 William O. Douglas Award.   The evening offered special presentations and videos from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, William H. Macy, Natalie Portman, Jon Voight and more.

Visit the Public Counsel website to learn more: www.publiccounsel.org