Summer Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in LAF.  We always have a dynamic group of summer interns and fellows (usually about 35) whom we work to fund for a 10-week period beginning after Memorial Day.  Check back after September 15, 2013 for our official Summer 2014 hiring notice.

eNewsletter - January 2013

            
LAF Logo
 LAF eNews Update
January 2013 
EQUAL JUSTICE STARTS HERE. 
In This Update:
 Meet Miguel  
Keberlein Gutierrez:
Providing a Voice for
Immigrant Farm Workers
 
 
Miguel Keberlein Gutierrez has been working in LAF’s Illinois Migrant Legal Assistance Project (IMLAP)  since he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School 11 years ago.  He was named a Senior Attorney in 2006, became a Supervisory Attorney in 2009, and was chosen as one of Illinois’ 40 under 40 attorneys to watch in 2010.  Recently, his work with IMLAP was profiled by Hispanically Speaking News.   You can read their writing about Miguel's work here.
 
In his work with IMLAP, he has represented thousands of migrant and seasonal agricultural workers and their families throughout Illinois.  As the head of a staff of four, IMLAP must be creative and efficient to serve the entire state.  One method is opening up summer satellite offices across the state and staffing them with law student interns and conducting extensive outreach to the hundreds of migrant camps across the state. Miguel helps farmworkers file wage and hour claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, and claims about working conditions, housing, and field sanitation.  Beyond this, IMLAP also helps workers obtain emergency SNAP benefits, represents workers in housing and consumer matters, and does immigration work with victims who qualify for VAWA, U, and T visas.   In many ways, Miguel provides a voice (and translates many others) for these workers who would otherwise be silenced.
 
Though it may be hard to remember now that there’s snow on the ground, the hot days of summer are some of the most dangerous for farm workers.  July 19, 2011 reached a heat index of 121 degrees, and saw the death of farmworker Humberto Casarrubias Sanchez due to heat exhaustion.  Miguel has tirelessly worked to share Humberto’s story and make lasting change to prevent more tragedies like this one and a case is now pending before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.  IMLAP led the effort to establish the statewide group Safe Farms, which brought together OSHA, Wage and Hour, the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the Illinois Community Health Partnership, the Mexican Consulate, the Illinois Department of Public Health, growers and farmworkers, concerned citizens, and several other advocacy groups to hold public forums across the state and to establish protocols for preventing any further tragedies.  Miguel also testified in front of the Illinois Senate Agricultural Committee to tell this story and begin dialogues about farmworker safety.  You can read more about Humberto’s story and IMLAP’s work here in our 2011 Annual Report.
 
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Diana

 
 

A special message
from LAF
Executive Director
Diana C. White


Happy New Year!
 
2012 was an incredible year here at LAF.  We were able to protect more than 9,000 women and children, empowering them to escape their abusers and achieve stability, keep more than 12,000 families in their homes by fighting unfair evictions and foreclosures, and gain our clients over $25 million in income supports such as Veterans Benefits, Food Stamps, and Social Security.  And that’s just the data we can track in numbers like these. 
 
In 2012, we secured access to medication for a client with epilepsy, obtained tutors from Chicago Public Schools for students with disabilities, ran a hugely successful conference that explored innovative ways of helping immigrant survivors of domestic violence, and countless of our attorneys were recognized for their contributions to the communities they serve and the legal field. 
 
But none of that would have been possible without your help.  Your generous contributions of your time, talents, and treasure, to support LAF’s work, allowed us to reach out to those who needed our services most in a time when there was more need than ever.  On behalf of the board, staff, clients of LAF, thank you for your support.  Your backing allows us to continue to serve the neediest people in our community.  If you missed out on giving during the busy holiday season, it is not too late to give.  Your gift will still make a difference. Thank you.  
 
 
Best,
 
Diana C. White
LAF Executive Director
 
 
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Pro Bono Victory Brings Heat Back  
On A Cold Day
 
Michelle was served an eviction from her apartment.  Despite the fact that the case is still pending in court and Michelle and her family are still living in the unit, the landlord shut off their heat and water in December.  She and her family filled and carried buckets of water from the basement and heated the unit with a space heater.  When that broke, they used the oven to heat their home.  However, when the temperature plummeted into the single digits in January, she’d had enough and contacted LAF.  Within hours, pro bono attorney Carey Bartell called off the shady landlord, who turned the heat and water back on within 24 hours. 
 
Carey is an attorney at Hospira, Inc., a pharmaceutical and medical device company, and is the chair of the legal department's pro bono committee. Under Carey's leadership, Hospira recently became a partner of LAF's in our Unlawful Lockout Pro Bono Project. LAF Staff Larry Wood, Lish Aiken and Jon Tabor trained about 15 of their attorneys a few weeks ago. Jon, an intake attorney in CSU, has been screening and referring appropriate lockout cases to these pro bono partners.
 
It’s great to see this project taking off and resulting in a real benefit for clients like Michelle!
 
If you’d like to learn more about the Unlawful Lockout Pro Bono Project, or any of LAF’s pro bono opportunities, please contact Mara Block, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  or 312-347-8360.
 
LAF Housing Attorneys Recognized 
New Funding from the Attorney General Increases LAF's Capacity, Impact in Foreclosure Work
 
Recently, two different LAF Attorneys were recognized for their contributions to the Chicago legal community.  
 
LAF Staff Attorney Meghan Carter and LAF Director of Advocacy Rich Wheelock

Staff Attorney Meghan Carter and former Equal Justice Works Fellow was commended by Equal Justice Works for her continued works with LAF after her fellowship.  They recountedher dedication to her clients and the energy she puts into every case.  You can read about Megan's success here.
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Director of Advocacy Rich Wheelock was profiled in the Chicago Reporter, and was called "a staunch advocate for the rights of public housing residents."  The essay, which you can read here, recounts his decades of work with LAF and the many housing projects throughout Chicago, and the shaping of city policies that affect Chicago's poorest residents.

We're proud of the work done by Meghan, Rich, and all of our dedicated staff.  Congratulations to all!
 
 
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LAF
EQUAL JUSTICE STARTS HERE.

Each year, LAF impacts 55,000 lives by providing free legal help to resolve issues like domestic violence, consumer fraud, and unfair evictions. We make equal justice a reality and get people back on track.
We rely on private donations to fulfill our mission.

 

Click here to see our other eNewsletters and media.

eNewsletter - March 2013

            
LAF Logo
 LAF eNews Update
March 2013 
EQUAL JUSTICE STARTS HERE. 
In This Newsletter
 
John Sterling helps LAF Plan for the Future 
 
John Sterling of Sterling Strategies, LLC
 
LAF has made some big changes in the last several years to improve our ability to serve clients.  We could not have done it without the help of John Sterling, who has now guided us through three strategic planning processes  ̶  the last one pro bono.
 
John Sterling is a partner with Sterling Strategies, LLC, a strategic management consulting boutique based in Chicago.  Sterling Strategies helps clients achieve sustained success – financially, organizationally, and competitively – through the development and implementation of winning strategies. And that's exactly what he did for us, not just by helping us figure out our problems and strategies to solve them, but in guiding us through the implementation and evaluation.  
 
As LAF's Executive Director, Diana White observed, “John is a great listener, which helped him win everybody’s confidence.  And he is a clear thinker, which helped him get us pointed in the right directions.  He always knew when we were biting off too much (or not enough).  He left us with strategic plans that we could own and drive.  We are in a much better spot today than we were before we met John.” 
 
John says of his experience working with LAF: "It has given me an opportunity to lend my professional expertise to the cause of helping the poor  ̶  not always easily done for a strategic planner.  Also, it is very rewarding working with a group of professionals so keenly dedicated to their organization's mission."
 
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Diana

 
 

A special message
from LAF
Executive Director
Diana C. White


 
March's weather may be unpredictable, but our work at LAF continues day in and day out.  You can read more about all our efforts in this month's edition of our eNewsletter.  

In the office, our attorneys and paralegals have been working hard.  Consumer Practice Group Supervisory Attorney Dan Lindsey led a training for foreclosure attorneys, Skadden Fellow Staff Attorney Margaret Kuzma saved the home of a National Guard member, and pro bono Strategic Consultant John Sterling helped LAF plan for our future.  Outside the office, LAF's Young Professionals Board hosted its first annual Justice is Served Spring Bash to incredible success.  The YPB raised almost $30,000 for LAF through a silent auction and donations, and guests enjoyed an evening of drinks, food, dancing, and much more.  
 
On behalf of the staff, the Board, and the clients we serve here at LAF, thank you for your generosity and support.  You can continue that support by making a tax-deductible donation right now. 
 
As always, I'm grateful for your input and would love to hear your feedback.  You can reach me anytime at  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Thank you.  
 
Best,
 
Diana C. White
LAF Executive Director
 
 
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Attorney General's Foreclosure Grant Funds Training for Foreclosure Attorneys  
McDermott Will & Emery Hosts Training
 
 
Last month, LAF held the second of four trainings that are paid for by our $4.7 million grant from the Illinois Attorney General for foreclosure prevention and litigation.  Led by national experts from the National Consumer Law Center, John Rao, Tara Twomey, and Diane Thompson, and coordinated by LAF's own Dan Lindsey, the two-day training took place at the offices of McDermott Will & Emery.  We'd like to thank our friends at MWE for their incredibly generous support of LAF, through opening up their space to our training and providing coffee and drinks for the more than 50 attendees.

People came from around Chicago and across the state for the training.  Many of them are new to the field of foreclosure litigation, which made this training especially important and useful.  The first day of the training focused on saving homes from foreclosure through bankruptcy, and the second day centered on intermediate-level litigation skills, practical hands-on exercises, and discovery.  All the responses to the training and its hosts at McDermott Will & Emery have been positive.  Two more trainings will be held in the next two years.  
 
LAF Keeps a Soldier "Mission Ready"  
National Guardsman's Home Saved
from Quarreling Landlords
 
Jake, a member of the Illinois National Guard, has been living in the same apartment for almost seven years.  In fact, he’d even worked there as a property manager for a while.  He always paid his rent (and had proof to show it), and was a pretty good tenant.  Things were going well for Jake and his life was stable.  Then, the owner of the building passed away and the three children who inherited the building started to bicker.  Two of the siblings tried several times to evict Jake because he was friendly with the other sibling. It was getting ugly. 
 
Last month, Jake received another eviction notice.  When he tried to pay his rent, the siblings refused to accept it.  So Jake called LAF.  Margaret Kuzma, our Skadden Fellow who works with servicemembers and their families, connected him with Frank Dylewski, a pro bono attorney from Kirkland and Ellis, who has achieved great results for LAF clients before.  Frank agreed to help Jake negotiate with his landlord.  Then Jake was subpoenaed for a deposition in the siblings' own dispute.  Frank represented Jake there too, and together, Margaret and Frank were able to keep Jake in his apartment. 
 
While the case continues on, Grant Swinger, JAG Captain and Chief of the Illinois Attorney General's Military and Veterans’ Rights Bureau, wrote Margaret the following message:  "Thank you so much for your assistance in regard to the recent referral.  [Jake] speaks highly of his contact with you and has been floored by the assistance he has received from [you and Frank].  In all sincerity, you have helped return a Soldier to 'mission ready' status through your great work."
 
Justice is Served Event a Smash Hit! 
LAF's Young Professionals Board threw a great party

Event Co-Chairs Christian Flaherty, Kristen Lukaszak, Elizabeth Lewis, and Dave Majors
 
The LAF Young Professionals Board's first annual Justice is Served Bash was a smashing success!  More than a hundred guests came together to enjoy a  premium open bar with specialty cocktail tastings and nibble on many hors d'oeuvres passed around by LAF's Governing Board members.  We auctioned off incredible items like sports tickets, spa packages for people (and dogs), and memorabilia; took loads of silly photos in our ActionBooth; and danced the night away with the live music of Slap Happy; all while celebrating LAF's successes in legal aid.  Thank you for all your support!  

More photos are on our Facebook pages here and here.  Check them out and tag your friends!
 
Save the Date for LAF's Annual Luncheon 
Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 – Mark Your Calendars!
 
It's that time of year again.  LAF's Annual Luncheon is coming up.  Mark your calendars to join us on Tuesday, June 18th, 2013, at the Palmer House Hilton Chicago, for drinks, lunch, and a chance to support LAF's work.  Tickets, tables, and sponsorships will be available soon.  Keep checking back in these monthly eNewsletters for more information.  
 
 
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Donate Button
Support LAF today with a tax-deductible donation
 
 
  

LAF
EQUAL JUSTICE STARTS HERE.

Each year, LAF impacts 40,000 lives by providing free legal help to resolve issues like domestic violence, consumer fraud, and unfair evictions. We make equal justice a reality and get people back on track.
We rely on private donations to fulfill our mission.

 

Click here to see our other eNewsletters and media.

eNewsletter - February 2013

            
LAF Logo
 LAF eNews Update
February 2013 
EQUAL JUSTICE STARTS HERE. 
In This Newsletter
 Meet Suzy Stockton: Connecting Clients with 
Big-Picture Solutions
 
 
Suzy Stockton hasn’t been with LAF long, but her impact is impressive.  She took over as head of our social work team in October, and has been helping clients come to comprehensive solutions since then.  Even in graduate school at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, she focused her practicum placements on organizations with collaborative models, places that focus on getting people help for both their social and legal needs. 
 
LAF’s social work team is not attached to any of LAF's five practice groups.  Suzy and the interns she manages work in all areas of practice.  They receive referrals of cases from attorneys, and then join the legal team.  In a lot of cases, Suzy and her team are able to improve communication between client, attorney, and social services agency, or help a client understand a complicated legal proceeding.  She will often meet clients in their homes or in a community setting, when they cannot come in to our offices.  Most importantly, by working with all of the practice groups, Suzy is able to help clients with multiple legal problems, and often can dig deep enough to find the primary source of the problems. 
 
She’s currently working with a client who is a survivor of domestic violence, and who moved with her family to Illinois to escape their abuser.  With her seven children, the family struggled to find a shelter that would take all of them, since the oldest child was too old for most shelters, and one of the younger children has developmental disabilities.  Suzy was able to locate safe and affordable housing, and is working with them to find solutions to their immediate needs, while attorneys at LAF help the client navigate the legal system. 
 
LAF is proud of the work Suzy Stockton is doing, and we are glad to have her expertise working for our clients.  Because of her, many of Chicago’s most vulnerable can get attention for social issues that are presenting as legal problems. 
 
 
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Diana

 
 

A special message
from LAF
Executive Director
Diana C. White


 
2013 is off to an exciting start! 
 
Every day our attorneys and paralegals, along with the rest of our staff, come in to our offices with a passion for helping our clients.  And every day, we achieve remarkable victories for those clients, by saving a home, gaining safety from an abuser, or, as you’ll read below, accessing educational opportunities that can open up a child’s world. 
 
The new year is into full swing.  Our social work team is working across all of LAF to find solutions to multi-faceted problems, and in February, LAF honored more than 300 volunteers who donate so much of their time and expertise to our clients.  Next month, our Young Professionals Board will host its annual Spring Bash, Justice is Served, at the W Chicago City Center Hotel, with all proceeds from the evening benefitting LAF.  The event will feature  specialty cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres, dancing and a live band, a silent auction and an all-around good time.  You can get your tickets here to support LAF’s mission and enjoy a great party at the same time! 
 
On behalf of the staff, the Board, and the clients we serve here at LAF, thank you for your generosity and support.  You can continue that support by making a tax-deductible donation right now. 
 
As always, I'm grateful for your input and would love to hear your feedback.  You can reach me anytime at  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Thank you.  
 
Best,
 
Diana C. White
LAF Executive Director
 
 
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YPB to "Serve Justice" on March 8th 
Get Your Tickets Now!
 
Please join us for the LAF Young Professionals Board's Annual Spring Bash, Justice is Served.  The event will be held on the evening of Friday, March 8th, at the W Chicago City Center hotel at 172 West Adams.  Enjoy a  premium open bar with specialty cocktail tastings and nibble on many passed hors d'oeuvres, bid on one of the fabulous items in our silent auction, dance to the music of Uncomfortably Numb, and join us in celebrating of LAF's successes in legal aid.  Tickets are available for purchase here.  We look forward to seeing you!

 
Thirteen-Year-Old Forms 
Sentences for the First Time
A Child Who Can Hear But Not Speak Will
Finally Be Able to Communicate
 
Caroline can hear, but she cannot speak, and when she came to us at the age of 11, she had few communication abilities.  She was limited to pointing, nodding, and shaking her head.  She would often cry suddenly, and her teachers didn't know why.  
 
Her grandmother wanted Caroline to learn American Sign Language (ASL), and taught her a few words from a book.  However, her school district refused to support Caroline learning ASL because, according to the school system, "she's not deaf."  They denied her entry to an existing program that taught ASL because they thought she was severely cognitively impaired.  It turns out her IQ was higher than they thought – they just couldn't measure it accurately because she couldn't communicate.  

So, for 9 years, Caroline was left sitting in a classroom where she could not communicate with other students or ask questions of her teachers.  

Two years ago, LAF got a private sign language tutor for Caroline.  And guess what?  She’s learning to sign and form sentences for the first time.  But the school district still left Caroline in a classroom where almost nobody could sign, so she was as alone as ever.  LAF then filed a second claim against the school district, seeking to place Caroline in an out-of-district school that provides sign language instruction and support to students who are both hearing and hearing-impaired.  Last month, the district finally agreed.  

Now, Caroline is able to communicate, and for the first time, she actually has peers and teachers who can understand what she’s saying.  
 
LAF Celebrates its Volunteers 
 
LAF staffers Angelica Lopez and Lisa Palumbo
celebrate with volunteer Alex Ruge
 
Earlier this month, LAF had a fabulous Valentine-themed reception to honor all of our wonderful Pro Bono volunteers.  The party was hosted by our friends at DLA Piper and featured delicious treats by Black Dog Gelato.  We had a smashing time, complete with drinks, snacks, a fun photo booth, raffle prizes, and lots of celebration.  The party honored the more than 300 active volunteers that give their time, energy, and talent to help LAF's clients.  We capped the night off by awarding "Volunteer of the Year" awards to one individual or team from each of LAF's 14 pro bono projects who showed the highest level of dedication and accomplishment in 2012.  You can see more photos from the event on our Facebook page.
 
LAF has a very active Pro Bono project that currently includes 14 different pro bono opportunities including neighborhood legal clinics, pro se clinics, help desks, and projects that extend representation to clients in a variety of practice areas.  In the last year alone, our volunteer attorneys provided extended representation to clients in 227 different cases, spending more than 3,200 hours in service of LAF clients in 2012.  If you would like more information about LAF's Pro Bono Project, contact Mara Block at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  or 312-347-8360.
 
 
Contribute to LAF Now!
Donate Button
Support LAF today with a tax-deductible donation
 
 
  

LAF
EQUAL JUSTICE STARTS HERE.

Each year, LAF impacts 50,000 lives by providing free legal help to resolve issues like domestic violence, consumer fraud, and unfair evictions. We make equal justice a reality and get people back on track.
We rely on private donations to fulfill our mission.

 

Click here to see our other eNewsletters and media.

eNewsletter - April 2013

            
LAF Logo
 LAF eNews Update
April 2013 
EQUAL JUSTICE STARTS HERE. 
In This Newsletter
 
Meet Carrie Chapman:  LAF's Newest Supervisory Attorney in Pubilc Benefits 
 
 
Carrie Chapman went to law school to focus on helping the poor.  In 2008, she came to LAF’s Westside Office, where many people in the community depended on public benefits to survive.  These types of cases rarely generate lump sums of attorney’s fees, and private bar attorneys are reluctant to take them, so LAF fills an important need.  Now a supervisory attorney, Carrie has been working recently on educating clients and service providers about how healthcare reform will affect their coverage and services for people living in poverty.  Additonally, Carrie is litigating cases involving hospitals to ensure they fulfill their obligation to provide charity care to uninsured, indigent patients.  
 
Carrie believes that Public Benefits casework is central to the mission of LAF, because it provides for people’s fundamental needs.  “LAF is one of the few agencies in Illinois that focuses on the vital role benefits programs play in the fight against poverty.  When I can help a very ill client get access to a doctor, I know my day has been well spent."
 
 
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Diana

 
 

A special message
from LAF
Executive Director
Diana C. White


 
April's showers have almost come to an end, and we can only hope the May flowers are on their way!  Some of those flowers, however, came early to LAF this year. 
 
Last month, we received a Cy Pres Award of $50,000 from a class action suit before Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer.  Cy Pres awards are the funds left over after distribution from a class action case.  Courts are allowed to distribute these funds to charitable causes, and LAF is honored to be included in this case’s distribution. 
 
We’re always grateful for these awards, which come from our friends in firms across the city, including Robinson Curley & Clayton, P.C., Edelman Combs Latturner & Godwin LLC, Schad Diamond & Shedden PC, Grant & Eisenhofer P.A., and many others.  Cy Pres awards are windfalls that often make our day-to-day operations easier. 
 
On behalf of the staff, the Board, and the clients we serve here at LAF, thank you for your generosity and support.  You can continue that support by making a tax-deductible donation right now. 
 
As always, I'm grateful for your input and would love to hear your feedback.  You can reach me any time at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Thank you.  
 
Best,
 
Diana C. White
LAF Executive Director
 
 
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LAF's Annual Luncheon is Coming Up! 
Join us on Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
 
LAF's annual fundraising campaign is kicking off with our annual luncheon on Tuesday, June 18th, at the Palmer House Hilton.  This year, our Champion for Justice Award will be presented to Brinks, Hofer, Gilson & Lione for the firm's longstanding and deep commitment to LAF and LAF’s clients.

 
Tickets, tables, and sponsorships will be available for online purchase soon.  In the meantime, they can be purchased by sending a check to LAF, Attn: External Relations Department, 120 S. LaSalle St. Ste. 900, Chicago, IL 60603, or by calling 312-347-8370.  
 
Nancy Gains Confidence and 
a New Start 
A woman and her children find safety and 
financial stability after an abusive marriage
 
For 19 years, Nancy stayed with her husband and the father of her three children in spite of his controlling behavior and physical abuse.  She feared their children would be emotionally scarred if she did not keep the family together.  Nancy's husband watched her every move, limiting her abilities to work and to keep in touch with her family and friends.  He kept Nancy and the children completely dependent on him financially, and Nancy felt isolated and trapped.  
 
After an incident of domestic abuse that led to a criminal order of protection, Nancy was referred to LAF.  She was worried about the repercussions of taking action against him, but Hilda Bahena, an attorney at LAF, reassured Nancy about her safety and explained her legal and non-legal options.  Nancy learned that she could regain control of her and her children's lives.  Together, Nancy and Hilda concluded that Nancy should divorce her abuser.  
 
Nancy's decision surprised her husband, because he never thought she would be able to leave him.  As he had done in the past, he tried to woo her with false promises that he would change and never hurt her again, and warned her that their children would suffer if the family did not stay together.    
 
While the case was pending, Hilda ensured that Nancy's husband paid the mortgage, car insurance, and phone bill, and gave Nancy money for food.  The court listened carefully to Nancy as she testified about her abuser's behavior and explained why she was requesting property and maintenance.  The judge granted Nancy sole custody of the kids and sizeable child support, sole ownership of the home and nine years' worth of maintenace, the family car, and minimal debt.  
 
Although divorce is one of the top reasons why women become poor, Nancy has been able to rent out her marital home for enough money to cover her new rentand her mortgage payments, with cash left over every month.  Nancy is now more financially stable, safer, and more in control of her own and her children's lives than when she was married.  
 
 
Contribute to LAF Now!
Donate Button
Support LAF today with a tax-deductible donation
 
 
  

LAF
EQUAL JUSTICE STARTS HERE.

Each year, LAF impacts 40,000 lives by providing free legal help to resolve issues like domestic violence, consumer fraud, and unfair evictions. We make equal justice a reality and get people back on track.
We rely on private donations to fulfill our mission.

 

Click here to see our other eNewsletters and media.