eNewsletter - January 2017

   LAF eNewsletter
January 2017   
In This Newsletter
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Meet Eric Fong: Staff Blog Series
Throughout the month of December, we profiled many members of LAF's staff in a feature we called “LAF is...”  You can read more about them and their incredible work on our blog.  Below, read about Eric Fong, our fearless IT Supervisor, who keeps LAF running every day:
Eric Fong, LAF IT Supervisor
From an early age, LAF’s IT Supervisor Eric Fong knew he wanted to work with computers. “I like being able to teach people new ways of doing things that will save them time,” he says. “I try to be a force multiplier—so that people are able to do their jobs more efficiently.”
He first became familiar with civil justice issues during college, when we worked on a project for Illinois Legal Aid Online. “I knew I wanted to work at a place where I’d be excited to contribute, and LAF’s mission really spoke to me,” he reflects. “And even though I’m not a lawyer, I can put my skills to use helping lawyers. And I think that’s important.”
In Eric’s more than ten years at LAF, he’s worked hard to ensure everything runs smoothly and efficiently so LAF can increase its capacity to serve people in need. He describes the staff’s sincerity and dedication as what keeps him excited to come to work each day. “I see people when they’re at their most frustrated. But no matter how much they’ve been worn down by a difficult case or whatever it is they’re dealing with, I know it’s all because they care so much about the work. And that means I never have a bad day here.”
Check out LAF on Social Media!
Follow us on Twitter at @ChicagoLAF, like our Facebook page, catch up with us on Instagram,
and read our blog at lafchicago.wordpress.com to keep up with all our work!
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A special message
from LAF
Executive Director
Diana C. White
LAF stands up to bullies. 
Every day, the attorneys, paralegals, and staff at LAF work tirelessly to defend people living in poverty from those who would prey on them.  We have protected seniors from scheming contractors looking to take advantage of their life savings.  We have faced down slumlords refusing to provide adequate and safe living conditions for their renters.  We have litigated against abusive spouses and murderous boyfriends trying to hurt or kill.  We have fought back against overworked government offices discriminating against the poor, the minority, and the disabled.  And we have stood with immigrants and victims of human trafficking as they have sought their fair share of the American Dream. 
In a world where it may seem like the bullies are winning, LAF is still here to make it a fair fight.  We are committed to ensuring that justice doesn’t depend on financial influence.  We are committed to proving that the lives of people living in poverty matter.  We are committed to showing, every day, that standing up to bullies at every level is what makes America great.
Thank you for your standing up with us.   
Diana C. White
LAF Executive Director
Tickets available for Justice is Served 2017 
Silent Auction Promises Big Winnings!
Join us on Friday, March 31st at The Tortoise Club for an evening of premium open bar, buffet, passed hors d'oeuvres, and a silent auction that includes international vacations, liquor packages, sports tickets, and more.  Tickets cost $150 each, and sponsorships begin at $750. Tickets and sponsorships are available now -- get them here
LAF Stands with Immigrant Seeking Asylum 
Attorney Nubia Willman secures a safe
future in the U.S. for Roberta
Roberta is an immigrant for whom LAF sought asylum in the United States.  Like many immigrants, she left her entire world behind to seek a safer life in the United States.  Roberta left Guatemala after her husband became abusive.  He slapped her, choked her, and threatened her life.  She hid her young daughter with her sister’s family, and got a tourist visa to come to the United States.  When she landed at the airport, her first call was to LAF. 
Attorney Nubia Willman took her case, knowing it wouldn’t be a sure victory.  Asylum cases are difficult proceedings.  She would have to prove not only that Roberta was a victim of domestic violence, but also that sending her back to Guatemala would result in her death because the government was unwilling and unable to protect her.  Nubia also knew that asylum cases often take years – years Roberta did not have on her tourist visa – and that immigration deportation proceedings could begin at any point during her asylum application process. 
Three years later, an interview was finally granted.  Roberta and Nubia, along with Mary Ellen Diaz, who faithfully translated Roberta’s story, met with an asylum officer.  Roberta told her story in detail, and answered the officer’s questions.  This August, her asylum was approved. 
But Roberta’s story doesn’t end there.  Her daughter, still in Guatemala, developed brain cancer, and has few treatment opportunities outside of the U.S.  Now that Roberta has asylee status, she will be able to petition for her daughter to enter the U.S. and obtain the care she needs.
LAF is proud to stand with immigrants like Roberta.  We are committed to helping victims of abuse seek safety and security, to supporting those who look to the American Dream for a better life, and to ensuring that “liberty and justice for all” doesn’t depend on your ability to pay for it.
Let's Do Lunch 
LAF's Brownbag Roundtable Series Continues with a Conversation about Human Trafficking
This month, we recognize Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  Many of us, however, don’t know a thing about the realities of human trafficking in Chicago.  You are invited to join LAF’s Lisa Palumbo and Amy Martin to learn more about our Trafficking Survivors’ Assistance Program (TSAP) on Monday, February 13th, at noon, at LAF's offices.  
LAF and TSAP provide comprehensive legal services to victims and survivors of both labor and sex trafficking, helping citizens and non-citizens, men, women and children alike. At this one-hour session, we will discuss the types of trafficking cases and clients LAF represents, what services we provide for them, and ways legal aid providers are fighting to help eliminate human trafficking and empower survivors. 
Woodlawn Clinic Reflection 
A University of Chicago Law Student Tells the Story
of Her Time Volunteering with LAF Clients
Earlier this fall, with just two weeks of classes under her belt, Whittney Barth, a University of Chicago first year Law student, signed up to volunteer at the Woodlawn Legal Clinic, where attorneys and paralegals from LAF and DLA Piper go out into the community to bring needed legal services to the people there. Claire Stamler-Goody, another student, reflected on Whitney's time volunteering with LAF's clients, including this quote from the clinic's coordinator:
Learning firsthand the impact that pro bono work can have on people’s lives is a crucial experience for law students—and one they should have as soon as possible in their law school careers, LAF's Regina Hernandez said.
“Getting this kind of face-to-face client contact early on is giving students the most practical experience they can get,” she said. “I think the skills that law students develop when working with real people and putting a face to the case file—they stay with them in a meaningful way.”
Check out LAF on Social Media!
Follow us on Twitter at @ChicagoLAF, like our Facebook page, catch up with us on Instagram, and read our blog at lafchicago.wordpress.com to keep up with all our work!
Sign up for Monthly Giving!
Pledge your ongoing support to LAF and
make your recurring gift today!

For more than 50 years, LAF has provided free legal services in non-criminal matters to the poorest and most vulnerable people in our community, ensuring they have the same access to legal services as those who can afford it.  By resolving critical legal problems that systemically trap people in poverty, such as domestic violence, consumer fraud, and unfair evictions, LAF has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals get their lives back on track and given them hope for a brighter future.  
We rely on the generosity of individuals and companies to provide the private support we need to fulfill our mission.  
Join us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and our Wordpress blog to stay updated on everything happening with LAF.


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