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1 OUR MISSION: To provide high quality civil legal advice, representation and education to the disadvantaged of Palm Beach County so as to protect their personal safety, enhance their opportunities and living conditions, and promote self-sufficiency BOARD OF DIRECTORS OFFICERS Mariano Garcia, Esq. President Miriam Acosta-Castriz, Esq. Secretary Jeffrey Devore, Esq. Vice President Jerry Beer, Esq. Treasurer Gary Woodfield, Esq. Immediate Past President TRUSTEES David Ackerman, Esq. Claire Arnold F. Gregory Barnhart, Esq. Bill Bone, Esq. Patrick J. Casey, Esq. Howard Coates, Esq. Melinda Penney Gamot, Esq. David Gaspari, Esq. Carey Haughwout, Esq. Thomas Kingcade, Esq. Jane Kreusler-Walsh, Esq. Richard Lubin, Esq. Rafael J. Roca, Esq. Michael Salnick, Esq. DIRECTORS Jerald Beer, Esq. Robin Bresky, Esq. Patience Burns Miriam Acosta-Castriz, Esq. Jeffrey Devore, Esq. Robert H. Friedman, Esq. Mariano Garcia, Esq. Garry Glickman, Esq. Richard Greenfield, Esq. Rosemarie Guerini, Esq. Judith Hertan John M. Howe, Esq. Phillip Hutchinson, Esq. Denise Rapport Isaacs, Esq. Hank Jackson, Esq. Carole T. Klein Nancy Lambrecht Scott Murray, Esq. Grier Pressly, Esq. Lawrence Rochefort, Esq. Robert M.W. Shalhoub, Esq. Kevin Smith, Esq. Michelle R. Suskauer, Esq. Matthew Triggs, Esq. Victoria Vilchez, Esq. Gary Woodfield, Esq. Gregory M. Yaffa, Esq. THE NEWSLETTER OF THE LEGAL AID SOCIETY OF PALM BEACH COUNTY WINTER 2010 Improving Health Outcomes The recent recession has affected not only our community s wealth but also its very health. It is well-documented that there is direct correlation between healthcare outcomes and socio-economic and environmental factors and the recession has certainly had a negative impact on the mental and physical well-being of many Palm Beach County residents. With unemployment rates at record highs, the number of uninsured patients continues to rise causing many people to put off much needed medical care because they simply cannot afford it. Even those with insurance are delaying some doctor visits and procedures because of the high cost of co-pays and deductibles. The Institute of Medicine recently released a series of reports that show that uninsured individuals do not receive needed medical care despite the availability of safety net healthcare options. The Institute goes so far as to say that being uninsured is in itself hazardous to a patient s health. Patients are being forced to choose between healthcare and basic necessities. Low-income patients in particular face a host of nonmedical problems that often adversely affect their health. Only with legal intervention can many of these nonmedical problems be adequately addressed. Thanks to the generous support of the Quantum Foundation, the Legal Aid Society has begun a new Medical Legal Partnership Project to help lowincome individuals and families with these legal issues to assure their access to food, housing and energy; to ensure their access to healthcare; and to mitigate other obstacles to their improved health. The MLP Project Attorney, Sara Alijewicz, meets with patients onsite at the Palm Beach County Health Department s Federally Qualified Health Centers throughout the county and works closely with the medical staff at each Center to identify legal issues that are affecting their patients healthcare. Ms. Alijewicz handles a variety of cases in which legal issues are exacerbating medical problems. For example, she has several clients who have been denied Medicare coverage but who clearly meet the eligibility criteria. She is representing them through the appeal process because, without the Medicare coverage, the clients cannot afford much needed medical care that is required beyond what is offered at the Centers. Other typical cases that the Project handles include helping patients obtain food stamps so that their families have enough to eat; assisting with landlord/tenant issues to resolve environmental issues that aggravate chronic conditions such as allergies or asthma; arranging Sara Alijewicz, Esq. public guardianship for indigent, incompetent individuals who are unable to make their own medical decisions; helping clients to get reasonable accommodations for their disabilities at work, school, or from landlords; and obtaining lim- Continued on page 5 Upcoming Events: 2010 Mar 21 Afternoon Tea for DV Apr 17 Gift Gathering Gala at the home of Lisa & Rick Roselli Apr 24 Gift Gathering Gala at the home of Marjorie Gadarian Graham May 8 22nd Annual Pro Bono Recognition Evening & Auction LEGAL AID SOCIETY WINTER

2 Letter from the President and Executive Director Dear Friends, This issue of our newsletter will be highlighting the changing times that are facing both our country and consequently Legal Aid. While all of us have had to make adjustments in our lifestyles to deal with the nation s current financial downturn, we at Legal Aid are in the process of restructuring our organization to better meet the needs of our evolving client community. As a result of businesses downsizing and Palm Beach County s double digit unemployment rate, the number of individuals eligible for our services has increased dramatically. Robert A Bertisch, Esq. Executive Director In our last issue, we reported on the numerous strategies we were undertaking to assist distressed individuals and families facing mortgage foreclosure including instituting weekly Foreclosure Day at Legal Aid as well as weekend Defense of Mortgage Foreclosure clinics. We were fortunate to be able to provide these services with special funding from the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties Safety Net Initiative, the Town of Palm Beach United Way, the United Way of Palm Beach County, the Sachs Philanthropic Fund and the Wells Fargo Home Ownership Housing Foundation. In September 2009, we were also awarded a two year Florida Attorney General Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Grant contract from the Florida Bar Foundation to fund two attorneys to serve families and individuals in Palm Beach County facing mortgage foreclosure. Additionally, Legal Aid received stimulus funding under the Department of Justice s Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and its Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) programs to increase the number of survivors of domestic violence we are able to represent. As the number of survivors requesting our services has risen by 20%, these additional funds were urgently needed. Mariano Garcia, Esq. President Monies were also received via the Dade Community Foundation BRAIVE Fund, allowing us to establish an Armed Services Advocacy Project (ASAP) to provide free legal services to those serving and those who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan and their family members. The project will provide legal advice, counsel, education and representation with regard to pre-deployment, deployment and post-deployment issues. After the first of the year, with a grant from the Coalition for Independent Living Options (CILO), we will be able to expand the program to provide legal services to disabled military veterans from all conflicts. Legal Aid s Pro Bono Project, in partnership with the county s voluntary bar associations, has instituted a campaign to substantially increase pro bono participation by the private bar. Although Palm Beach County has a strong tradition of pro bono service and has been a leader in the state in pro bono achievements, the number of children, families, elders, and individuals in our community in need of volunteer legal assistance has risen significantly in the past three years while participation in the program has remained static. The Florida Bar Foundation recently provided us with a grant to promote and encourage greater pro bono participation in our county. At this time of economic turmoil we must all renew our commitment to providing legal assistance to the poor and ensure access to justice to all members in our community. Thank you. Sincerely, Robert A. Bertisch, Esquire Executive Director Mariano Garcia, Esquire President, Board of Directors 2 LEGAL AID SOCIETY WINTER 2010

3 Legal Aid Welcomes New Board Members Robert H. Friedman focuses his practice on helping clients navigate through difficult insurance coverage issues. He represents policy holders in disputes with their insurers involving property damage, bodily injury, environmental liability, products liability, director and officer liability, intellectual property liability, business interruption, and crime and fidelity matters. He has litigated insurance and other complex commercial disputes in various state and federal courts. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Mr. Friedman served as a law clerk to the Honorable Naomi Reice Buchwald of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He practiced for seven years in the Insurance Coverage group of Dickstein Shapiro LLP in New York before joining Gunster Yoakley in Gregory M. Yaffa joined Slawson Cunningham Whalen & Gaspari in 2004 and currently concentrates his practice in the areas of personal injury, wrongful death and insurance company bad faith. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Yaffa practiced in the Miami-based law office of Stewart G. Greenberg, where he focused on automobile negligence, wrongful death, medical malpractice and product liability cases. Mr. Yaffa is admitted to practice law not only in the State Courts of Florida, but also in the Florida Federal Courts, including the United States District Court, Middle District Court of Florida, the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida and the United States District Court, Northern District of Florida. He received his bachelor s degree from the University of Richmond and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Miami School of Law in He was admitted to the Florida Bar in Mr. Yaffa frequently authors articles in the Florida Justice Association s The Journal on the topic of insurance. He was also featured in the article "Preserving A Legal Tradition" in the April 2008 issue of PBG Lifestyle Magazine. Woman of Grace Honoree Congratulations to Legal Aid Society Board member Robin Bresky, Esq., who was nominated by the Legal Aid Society and subsequently named as a Bethesda Hospital Foundation 2009 Woman of Grace honoree. Robin Bresky, Esq. Introducing the Armed Services Advocacy Project Military personnel who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are returning home to face a host of issues many of which require legal intervention to resolve. In response to the growing need for services for these individuals and their families, the Legal Aid Society has begun a new Armed Services Advocacy Project (ASAP). The Project is funded by the Florida BrAIve Fund. It provides free legal advice, representation, and advocacy to military personnel who are serving or have served in Operation Enduring Freedom and/or Operation Iraqi Freedom and their families in Palm Beach County. Issues the Project addresses include, but are not limited to, disability determinations, access to benefits, discharge upgrades, accommodations for disabilities, employment matters, etc. Outreach is done in partnership with local veterans centers and the VA Medical Center as well as with veterans advocacy organizations such as local chapters of Disabled American Veterans, etc. For more information about the Armed Services Advocacy Project, please contact Elaine Martens, Esq., at Elaine Martens, Supervising Attorney LEGAL AID SOCIETY WINTER

4 What s a Grandparent to do? By Judith Migdal-Mack, Esq., Supervising Attorney for the Relative Caregiver Project One day you are a grandparent contemplating or already enjoying retirement, living a leisurely life in an adult community. You get visits from your grandchildren and perhaps you spoil them a bit. You go out to dinner with friends, see mature, unanimated movies or maybe watch television until you go to bed. You may be working full-time or part-time, or your spouse may be employed. You are planning to visit family members or old friends or to take an island cruise. Then you go to sleep one night, and the next morning, boom, you wake up a parent again to your grandchildren! Your own grown child has left his or her young child with you. Your son or daughter has died, gone to prison, become a drug addict, or simply abandoned your grandchild for personal or financial reasons. But here you are chills running down your spine as you wonder how you will ever do this. The statistics for grandparents raising their grandchildren are staggering 1 in 12 children in Florida is being raised by a grandparent. And these estimates are certainly low, as many grandparents take on this responsibility without ever asking for help or reporting that they are raising their grandchildren. Judith Migdal-Mack, Esq. The financial, physical, and emotional burdens of this new role can take a great toll on grandparents. The aging population now finds themselves changing diapers and chasing toddlers. While there are now legal and economic services available, these grandparents still need more support to accomplish this huge task. Legal Aid s Relative Caregiver Project provides free legal services to low-income grandparents and those over age 55, to help them secure stability for their newly created families. The Project helps with issues such as obtaining temporary legal custody for relatives who need documentation for school, housing, and/or medical treatment. The Project also prepares Limited Power of Attorney documents for relatives who will be taking care of a child for only a short period of time. In addition, the Project helps with Pre-Need Guardianships for elderly grandparents who are concerned about what will happen if they are unable to continue caring for their minor grandchild. Sometimes just providing peace of mind is all the family may need. Raising grandchildren is not all negative. Once the legal and financial hurdles have been crossed, the fun begins. Grandparents get to relive their youth and enjoy more time with their grandchildren. They get to watch cartoons, finger paint, draw funny faces, build sandcastles, see Disney World through the eyes of a three-year old It s not all bad! For more information about the Relative Caregiver Project, please contact Judith Migdal-Mack, Esq. at ext. 269 Bioethics Project Comes to an End After 7 years, our Bioethics Law Project has come to an end. Due to changing priorities and cutbacks among funders, there simply is no funding available at this time to sustain the project. Thanks to the tireless efforts, commitment and passion of Marnie Poncy, the Bioethics Law Project helped hundreds of clients make end-of-life decisions. Additionally, the Project acted as an essential bridge between the medical and legal communities in addressing end-of-life medical matters that raise legal issues. Marnie is not only a brilliant attorney, but also a knowledgeable registered nurse. With her expertise in both law and medicine, she was the ideal leader for this very important project. Her presence at local hospitals will surely be noticed, and she is already sorely missed at Legal Aid. Marnie Poncy Bioethics Law Project 4 LEGAL AID SOCIETY WINTER 2010

5 Foreclosures Still An Issue In response to the local foreclosure crisis, the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County started the Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Project as part of its Fair Housing Project. The Project quickly became one of Legal Aid s busiest programs, and demand for foreclosure assistance continues to be steady. The first wave of clients consisted of mostly victims of predatory lending practices and/or bad loans with outrageous repayment terms. While many of those clients have already benefitted from loan modifications, a second wave of clients are coming forward for help. These foreclosure clients are primarily individuals who have lost their jobs in the past few months former construction workers, real estate professionals, or service industry workers who can no longer afford to pay their mortgages. The Project provides free legal advice and counseling to clients facing mortgage foreclosure. Legal Aid Project attorneys also present information about the foreclosure process, buyers rights and responsibilities, and available remedies at public workshops and foreclosure clinics throughout the county. Community education and outreach are key components of the Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Project. Clients who are candidates for realistically sustainable modifications of their mortgage loans are referred to housing agencies such as Home Free USA or the Housing Partnership to negotiate a new contract. Not all clients are eligible for or well served by a loan modification particularly if they are still unemployed. Therefore, prior to making a referral, the Project attorneys carefully present each client with all possible options, and allow the client to decide what is in his or her best interest. So far, the Initiative has closed 75 cases all of which were satisfactorily resolved to allow the clients to remain in their homes. For more information on the Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Project or to volunteer pro bono legal services to supplement the project, please contact Curt Sanchez, Esq., at ext. 263 or Ferris Solomon, Esq., at ext Contiued from page 1 ited powers of attorney authorizing relative caregivers to make medical decisions for minor children left in their care. Now more than ever, vulnerable populations need legal intervention to remove or mitigate circumstances that prevent them from benefitting from medical treatment. As local residents continue to lose their jobs, income, health insurance, and food and housing security, the Legal Aid s Medical Legal Partnership Project is here to protect these clients physical and mental health. For more information about the Medical Legal Partnership Project, contact Sara Alijewicz, Esq., at ext. 294 or via at Legal Aid in the Digital Public Square The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County is pleased to be a partner in the Digital Public Square an initiative of the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties which promotes civic engagement and community collaboration. This interactive website is a platform for local nonprofits to discuss issues of interest and provide news to individuals in Palm Beach County about programs and upcoming events. The Digital Public Square allows Legal Aid to gain exposure for our programs and events and provides the opportunity for us to educate the community on emerging legal issues. Digital Public Square allows us to upload content directly and link information to our own website. In addition, the Digital Public Square website interfaces directly with major social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr, which expands our reach and presence on the web. We are excited to continue our collaboration with the Digital Public Square, and we invite you to check out the site at LEGAL AID SOCIETY WINTER

6 Celebrating Justice Save the Dates 2010 The 7th Annual Holiday Bookfest & Shopping Spree SUNDAY MARCH 21 Afternoon Tea at Frenchmen s Reserve in Palm Beach Gardens to benefit Legal Aid s Domestic Violence Project SATURDAY APRIL 17 Gift Gathering Gala at the home of Lisa & Rick Roselli in Boca Raton; Cocktails and Hors d oeuvres; cocktail attire SATURDAY APRIL 24 Gift Gathering Gala at the home of Marjorie Gadarian Graham in Jupiter Island; Oceanside Cocktails; casual oceanside attire To receive event invitations, please contact Harreen Bertisch at ext Please also be sure to browse our registries for auction gift ideas at Pottery Barn Williams Sonoma and Crate & Barrel We thank you in advance for your contribution to our exciting auction. Harreen Bertisch & Victoria Vilchez The 7th Annual Holiday Bookfest & Shopping Spree at Barnes & Noble CityPlace was sponsored by Palm Beach County Chapter of FAWL with the F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association, Kevin C. Smith, Esq., Palm Beach County Hispanic Bar Association and The Suskauer Law Firm, P.A. SATURDAY MAY 8, 2010 Mark your calendar now and plan to join us for a spectacular celebration of justice at the Legal Aid Society's 22nd Annual Pro Bono Recognition Evening & Auction. We are pleased to announce that Scott and Jamie Murray, together with Dr. Kenneth and Robin Bresky, will co-chair the event at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. Details about sponsorship opportunities, pre-event gift gathering galas and auction gift registries are available online at For more information, please contact Harreen Bertisch, Director of Development, by phone at (561) ext. 257 or via at Scott and Jamie Murray Dr. Kenneth and Robin Bresky Patricia Leonard and Lisa Small 6 LEGAL AID SOCIETY WINTER 2010

7 Young Professional Friends of Legal Aid Brooks Brothers event Jamie and Scott Murray Jessica Callow and Kimberly Rommel-Enright Anita and Jack Scarola Young Professional Friends of Legal Aid Hosted November 18th Brooks Brothers Event in Palm Beach Gardens. Rosemarie Guerini Avery and Joan Kian Cyndi, Christopher and Michael Napoleone Jason and Nicole Guari Hampton Keen, Bob Bertisch, Joe Galardi Bob Bertisch, Michelle Suskauer Matt Triggs, Bailey Triggs and Amy Triggs LEGAL AID SOCIETY WINTER

8 Celebrating Justice 9th Annual Cup of Justice Golf Classic Members of the winning team, Gordon and Doner, P.A.: Keith Mullenger, Chris Peddicord and Adam Doner The 2009 Cup of Justice Golf Classic raised $20,000 to support Legal Aid s Children s Educational Advocacy Project which works to ensure equal access to public education for disabled children in Palm Beach County. Attorney Robert Shalhoub chaired the October 12 th tournament at Bear Lakes Country Club. The presenting sponsor of the event was CityPlace Tower The Related Companies and Crocker Partners, Debra Jenks, Robert Harvey Bob Shalhoub & Bob Bertisch Matthew Ferguson, Grier Pressly Keith Austin, Peter Broberg, Sam Bereson and Gary Woodfield The Community Back-to-School Bash Angie Brafford gives out school supplies at the Back-to-School-Bash in August. WRAP UP The Legal Aid Society partnered with over 30 other community agencies for the Community Back to School Bash in August and helped to provide much needed school supplies to over 9,100 disadvantaged children in Palm Beach County including 469 Legal Aid clients. From the Legal Aid Society Thanks to all! 8 LEGAL AID SOCIETY WINTER 2010

9 PRO BONO SPOTLIGHT - Lawrence E. Moncrief, Esq. Lawrence Larry Moncrief received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, and his law degree from Duquesne University. Mr. Moncrief was a structural engineer for 20 years before joining H.K. Porter Company, Inc., where he served as Vice President and General Counsel for 23 years. Since his retirement, Mr. Moncrief has devoted his time to community work. He is involved in many community activities including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Expanding & Preserving Our Cultural Heritage, St. Paul AME Church of Delray Beach, Knights of Pythagoras, and the Disaster Action Team of the American Red Cross. Mr. Moncrief has been happily married to the former Betty Haile for 60 years. Since late 2005, Mr. Moncrief has been an invaluable resource for the Legal Aid Society. He began coming into the office as a volunteer intake attorney. When he started, the Legal Aid Society was getting an inordinate number of calls regarding Social Security denial of benefits cases. The demand for services far outweighed what Legal Aid staff could handle. Mr. Moncrief stepped forward to assist with this crisis. He worked with Legal Aid staff to learn this area of law and began counseling and representing clients in Social Security cases. He has assisted hundreds of clients in preparation of disability forms and has represented several at the appellate level. With the support of his wife Betty, Mr. Moncrief has provided countless hours of his time to assisting the disabled in Palm Beach County. For his exceptional efforts, Mr. Moncrief was recognized with the Emeritus Attorney Award at the 19th Annual Pro Bono Recognition Evening in 2006, and he has not slowed down. Mr. Moncrief continues to volunteer and spends nearly every Thursday at the Legal Aid offices meeting with Social Security clients. He is even now teaching Legal Aid attorneys about Social Security law! At age 82 and having been retired for 16 years, I still find the need to keep my mind active and to be challenged mentally, says Mr. Moncrief. I look forward each week to putting on a shirt and tie and driving 25 miles to volunteer my service to Legal Aid. I appreciate Legal Aid providing me the opportunity to serve. And the Legal Aid Society appreciates Larry Moncrief. With his constant smile and obvious commitment to his clients, Mr. Moncrief is an inspiration to everyone he meets. His service is truly been a blessing to the Legal Aid Society and the many grateful clients he has helped over the years. Announcing Training for Pro Bono Attorney Volunteers Many local attorneys who volunteer to take on pro bono cases from the Legal Aid Society are unable to do so because the cases in need of private representation fall outside the volunteer s scope of expertise. In response, Pro Bono Project Supervising Attorney Kimberly Rommel-Enright has begun a series of professional development sessions to give potential pro bono attorneys the tools and resources they need to assist with Legal Aid cases. In November 2009, Legal Aid attorneys Tequisha Myles, Kim Enright, Ferris Solomon, and Curt Sanchez, volunteer attorneys Jon Mann and Jeff Eannario, and Pro Bono Coordinator Britt Holm trained 40 Florida Power & Light attorneys in defense of mortgage foreclosure matters in order for them to provide intake, advice and consulting services to distressed families and homeowners facing foreclosure. Private attorney Alan Crane also provided training in bankruptcy law at this session. The FP&L attorneys are now ready to begin providing volunteer legal services under the supervision of our Mortgage Defense and Pro Bono Projects. Twenty additional FP&L attorneys are also planning to attend foreclosure defense training in the coming months. In December 2009, Legal Aid attorneys Michelle Hankey and Bill Booth offered specialized training for attorneys in the West Palm Beach office of Greenberg Traurig to represent dependent children in our Independent Living Courts as well as in other Juvenile Advocacy Project matters. Legal Aid attorneys Melissa Duncan and Shahar Pasch presented the same training for the attorneys in the Boca Raton office of Greenberg Traurig. Additional trainings are in the planning stages, and sessions will be announced via blasts, bar newsletters, and mailings. However, if you or your firm are interested in arranging a special training session in a particular high-need area, please feel free to contact Kimberly Rommel-Enright at ext With the recent surge in demand for legal services particularly in the areas of bankruptcy and juvenile advocacy Legal Aid needs all the qualified pro bono volunteers we can get. LEGAL AID SOCIETY WINTER

10 INTERN CORNER Article courtesy of the Florida Bar Foundation Jarred Reiling recognizes the face of domestic violence. For nearly three months, he heard the heart-wrenching stories of abused women one so severely beaten that a judge called it the worst case he had ever seen. During the summer of 2009, Reiling, a second-year law student at Florida International University College of Law, worked as a Fellow with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County s Domestic Violence Project. He is one of 40 law students about half of them minorities who participated in The Florida Bar Foundation s 2009 Legal Services Summer Fellowship Program, through which the students explore careers in public interest law at legal aid offices throughout the state. For Reiling, the fellowship added fuel to his passion for helping domestic violence victims, which has been burning since his days as an undergraduate at Florida Atlantic University and ultimately led him to law school. Such emotionally gripping work isn t for everyone, but for Reiling, 23, it pushes him to take action. I have the ability to go home and not think about [domestic violence]. Some people don t, Reiling said. It kind of fuels my fire to do my part and do what I can do. The Lantana native received his bachelor s degree in Women s Studies and worked as an intern at a domestic violence shelter in Pasco County even staying there for a couple of nights to understand better the experience of those who weren t there by choice. I wanted to get the full effect of what it was like to be completely dislocated, Reiling said. While emotions can run high at a shelter, Reiling has learned to focus on the methodical, meticulous and relatively emotionally detached process involved in protecting the legal rights of domestic violence victims. While at Legal Aid, Reiling did legal research the staff attorneys don t have the time to do given their enormous caseloads and he frequently went to court with lawyers representing clients, an opportunity envied by his friends from law school. Reiling s presence was a tremendous benefit to the office, said supervising attorney Kathryn Oleksy, who heads the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County s Domestic Violence Project. With the economic crisis we have a real crunch as far as more clients than ever who need services. Jarred has been really good with helping prep our cases, Oleksy said. Reiling hopes to follow law school with an Equal Justice Works fellowship and one day practice public interest law. If he ends up practicing at the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, he d be one of several attorneys here who started by participating in the Foundation s Legal Services Summer Fellowship Program. I ve always had an interest in doing public interest law, as a result of what brought me to law school in the first place, Reiling said. But working here this summer has solidified that. It s definitely something I very much want to do. Interns are a Valuable Asset to Legal Aid The Legal Aid Society is fortunate to have hosted the following interns so far this academic year. These talented professionals were introduced to the world of legal aid while contributing their expertise to a variety of LAS projects. Intern Jarred Reiling with supervising attorney Katy Oleksy Intern Name Law School Attended LAS Project Assisted Kate Cohen Florida International University College of Law Medical Legal Partnership Abby Chaffatt Boston University Law School Fair Housing/Elder Law Olen McLean Appalachian School of Law Pro Bono Jarred Reiling Florida International University College of Law Domestic Violence Kevin Henson University of Memphis School of Law Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Jon Mann Wayne State University School of Law Fair Housing/Mortgage Defense Meghan Bedecs Wake Forest Univ. School of Law Domestic Violence Kristin Cantrell University of Toledo Law School Domestic Violence Jean Francis Nova Southeastern University Law School Family Law Jeff Eannarino University of Miami School of Law Fair Housing/Mortgage Defense Kris Heaton University of Denver Law School Immigration Advocacy 10 LEGAL AID SOCIETY WINTER 2010

11 LEGAL AID STAFF NEWS Kudos to Abigail Beebe, Esq. Recipient of the Award of Merit for leadership, commitment and labor for the benefit of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar Association; selected to serve on the Legislation Committee of the Family Law Section; was also instrumental in structuring a bill on concurrent custody through her position as the Chair of the Children s Issues Sub-Committee on Concurrent Custody Robert A. Bertisch, Esq. Elected President of the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches John Foley, Esq. Recipient of the 2009 Unsung Hero Award presented by the Lord s Place for his contributions to ending homelessness Mickale Linton Featured in a Sun Sentinel newspaper article for his volunteer efforts with the South University Pro Bono Paralegal Club Judith Migdal-Mack, Esq. Elected Vice-Chair of the School Advisory Council for the Dreyfoos School of the Arts Tequisha Myles, Esq. Served on the Foreclosure Committee for the 15th Judicial Circuit to amend the administrative order governing the foreclosure process and was recently elected Second Vice-President of Adopt-a-Family of the Palm Beaches; also featured in Success South Florida magazine South Florida s premiere journal for black business professionals as one of 2009 s 40 Under 40 Leaders of Today and Tomorrow Linda Norris Elected to the Board of Directors for the Children s Home Society; co-chair of CHS s National Adoption Day Committee Sandra Powery, Esq. Coordinated the Palm Beach County Bar Association s highly successful Diversity Summit Ferris Solomon, Esq. Pictured and quoted in Palm Beach Post article discussing the foreclosure crisis and the Legal Aid Society s mortgage foreclosure defense program the Housing Stability Initiative Shane Weaver, Esq. Quoted in Palm Beach Post newspaper editorial applauding his work on behalf of victims of egregious housing discrimination Welcome! New Staff Members Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc. Paul Disse Information Technology Manager Darnesha McComb AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Kathleen Postel Fiscal and Grants Manager Legal Aid Attorney Making Headlines Legal Aid Attorney Shane Weaver has been getting lots of press lately. It seems that a couple of local landlords decided to ignore their renters rights in pursuit of financial gains. In one case, a landlord in Pahokee gave notice to all residents with children living in his rental community that they had to move because the apartments were becoming senior housing. As it turns out, he had made a deal with a non-profit to house former sex offenders thus the need to rid the community of children. The landlord likely assumed that the residents would leave without a fight that his behavior would go unchecked in the poor, rural, predominately minority community. The landlord and the non-profit were surprised to learn that the Legal Aid Society had partnered with the Florida Equal Justice Center to represent the tenants. In another case, property owners of a mobile home park have asked the Village of Palm Springs to rezone their property so that a Wal-Mart can be built there. Approximately 70 families would be affected by the park s closing and fear they will be unable to find comparable housing for rent in the same area. According to State law, the Village is required to verify that adequate and suitable housing exists for the homeowners relocation before they can approve the re-zoning. Furthermore, the park owners are mandated to give residents six months notice before eviction, and must either pay part of the cost to move the home or a small fixed amount if the resident abandons the home. Mr. Weaver is working with these families to ensure that they receive proper treatment under the law and that their rights to comparable, affordable housing is protected. LEGAL AID SOCIETY WINTER

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