As Americans, we like to think that we all have access to justice. But did you know that there’s an underserved segment of our community who can’t afford legal representation and often isn’t experiencing justice as we think we know it?
Public defenders are only assigned to criminal cases
When convicted of a criminal charge, a public defender is assigned to represent individuals who can’t afford an attorney of their own. However, in civil litigation matters, which includes personal legal disputes, family law including custody and divorce cases, landlord/tenant issues and consumer bankruptcy, low-income individuals don’t have access to a public attorney to represent them.
Two Virginia organizations provide legal assistance in civil cases
CVLAS and LAJC rely on fundraising, donations, and the goodwill of attorneys across the Commonwealth of Virginia who are willing to donate their services pro bono.
Help fund these important organizations by attending Justice for Ale
Want to help provide access to justice for everyone in Central Virginia while enjoying some delicious brews? Raise a glass to help raise funds for LAJC and CVLAS!
On May 23, 2018, Commonwealth Law Group presents the 5th annual Justice for Ale fundraiser to benefit both the LAJC and CVLAS and your neighbors who rely on these two organizations to provide civil representation.
Justice for Ale: Where, when, how much does it cost and what’s involved?
The event will take place Wednesday night, May 23 from 6-9 p.m. at Väsen Brewing Company.
Tickets are $10, and with your ticket you also get:
- a Justice for Ale pint glass
- a Justice for Ale can koozie
- one beverage ticket
There will also be a very limited supply of Justice for Ale growlers available for $25 (price does not include beer), so come early to be sure to get one.
In addition to mixing and mingling with socially conscious lawyers while sipping delicious brews, you’ll enjoy music spun by DJ Elliot Ness. When you’re ready for a bite to eat, two food trucks will be parked outside, ready to serve you: River City Wood Fire Pizza and Gaucho.
A word from Legal Aid Justice Center
“Everyone can be involved in justice,” said Jessica Wright, Chief Development Officer for LAJC. “Everyone believes in the ideals of justice and the right to a day in court. To fight for the rights we have, we must provide every mechanism to do so in the most effective way possible.”
The LAJC has provided legal representation for those who can’t afford it since 1967 and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017.
Two examples of Virginia legal aid organizations in action
- Wanda, the mother of two little girls under the age of 7, came to CVLAS after petitioning her local Juvenile & Domestic Relations court for a protective order, custody of her girls, and child support from the girls’ father, who was abusive and threated their lives repeatedly. A CVLAS staff attorney provided resources and representation in court for several court dates. The result: a protective order for Wanda and her children and limiting communication between the parties to text/email conversations about custody and visitation only. CVLAS helped Wanda obtain sole legal and physical custody of the children with no visitation and a child support award. Wanda’s reaction: “I could never repay CVLAS for giving me my life back and ensuring the safety of my children. We as a family are thriving now. The future is bright thanks to the work of the services of Central Virginia Legal Aid. My gratitude is eternal!”
- The Legal Aid Justice Center works with low-income populations and noticed a disturbing pattern involving public housing: A plaintiff named Shanta pointed out that nearly every eviction from Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) properties cited unpaid excess utility fees and associated late fees. As a result, 90% of RRHA residents were charged more for utilities than they should have been, increasing exposure to late fees and contributing to a high incidence of eviction for non-payment. This affected numerous families needlessly. Shanta was instrumental in keeping detailed notes and documentation to see the case through. LAJC determined that RRHA flouted federal housing laws, making it harder for people already struggling to make ends meet and pushing people out of the only housing they could afford. LAJC negotiated a settlement with RRHA, coming to terms that were very favorable for former, current, and future residents of RRHA properties. Shanta’s reaction: “I appreciate knowing that I can count on LAJC to have our community’s back, to know that when we need to make change happen for our community, we can.”
Want to contribute to positive outcomes like the recent civil case successes above? Then join us on May 23, 2018 and raise your glass while we raise funds for LAJC and CVLAS: We look forward to toasting with you in person!
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident or suffered a work injury, call the personal injury attorneys and workers’ compensation lawyers of Commonwealth Law Group. We’re Virginia’s next generation of injury law, and we will fight to get you the justice you deserve. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call us today at 804.999.9999.