We provide free civil legal services to low-income San Mateo County residents. Our clients are the elderly, families trying to make ends meet, persons with disabilities, children with special needs, survivors of domestic violence, and people struggling to find health care. Our work includes five broad areas: obtaining health care, preventing homelessness, accessing income support programs, fighting for freedom from domestic violence and bridging the education gap. To schedule an appointment, please call our office at 650-558-0915.
Veterans Clinics Launch
On Thursday, August 4th, Legal Aid hosted its initial free Veterans Legal Clinic, at the Redwood City Public Library.
Veterans were invited to hear an informative presentation on the subject of wills and estate planning, followed by free one on one consultation with an attorney to prepare their own individual Advanced Health Care Directive.
"Legal Aid is pleased to be able to offer this service to our veterans," says Director of Pro Bono Janet Seldon. "This is a population whose vulnerabilities can slip through the cracks of our social systems, and it's important that they know they have legal resources available."
Future clinics will cover such topics as credit issues, debt and debt collection, and family law .
Legal Aid thanks attorneys Noell Kubota, Joe Gruber, Kevin Bryce Jackson, Chuck Riffle, Stephen A. Hansen, Tony Gibbs, and Legal Aid Board Member Leticia Toldeo, for donating their time to this vital cause.
Legal Aid's Janet Seldon Receives 2016 Elinor Falvey Award
Spearheading the cause of women in the law is Legal Aid Pro Bono director Janet Seldon, honored this month by The Women Lawyers Section at their annual Spring Judges' Luncheon. Janet is the 2016 recipient of the Elinor Falvey Award, for providing excellent service to women lawyers in our community.
Janet was cited for "being instrumental in recruiting and training hundreds of pro bono attorneys to provide legal representation to women and children," and for her work on guardianship and domestic violence projects.
Legal Aid Remembers Colleen McAvoy
Legal Aid is saddened to learn of the recent passing of longtime supporter Colleen McAvoy, of McGlashan & Sarrail, following a long battle with cancer. During her career, Colleen was not only a personal donor to Legal Aid, but took on pro bono cases, and championed Legal Aid's work in her term as SMCBA President.
Says Legal Aid Board member Michèle Bissada: "Colleen was a well-respected attorney and dedicated member of our Bar Association in San Mateo County. It was an honor to serve with her on the San Mateo Board of Directors and on several Bar Committees. Her passion to help those in need throughout our community through the Community Affairs Committee and other endeavors, as well as her support of the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, was inspiring. She will be missed by so many in the legal community."
Colleen's family has designated the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County as a recipient of donations in her honor, which may be made at this page.
Read the May 2016 Edition of the Jay White Senior Scam Alert
Each month, Attorney Jay White compiles a list of the newest and most dangerous tricks, frauds, and scams preying on today's seniors.
You can read the latest edition here.
Sign up to receive these directly in your email here.
Guardian of Justice Award Winner Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP
Legal Aid honors the firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP for their many hours of pro bono service to Legal Aid clients, and for the leadership provided by Weil partner and Pro Bono Committee member Anne Cappella, and by Weil partner Karen Ballack, co-chair of Legal Aid's Awards Luncheon Committee.
Natalie Lanam Award Winner Sherri Sager
Legal Aid's Natalie Lanam Award for 2016 was presented to Sherri Sager, Chief Government & Community Relations Officer at Stanford Children's Health / Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. Sherri is a tireless advocate for the medical-legal partnership of the Peninsula Family Advocacy Program (FAP), integrating Legal Aid lawyers into medical teams to represent patients, consult with providers, and train medical providers to identify when poverty or legal problems are affecting patients' health, and to address policy issues impacting patient health.
Dorothy M. Wolfe Award Winners Tom Feledy and Laura Furniss
Two attorneys--one a former San Francisco police officer, the other a dedicated family lawyer--make up a formidable team for many of Legal Aid's most vulnerable clients.
Attendees at this year's And Justice For All Awards Luncheon were moved by the story of Cira, a mother of two daughters who suffered years of abuse at the hands of her violent, controlling husband. In this video, Cira shares the story of how Legal Aid, and Gilead pro bono attorney Joel Silver, helped her find the strength and courage to stand up for herself, and her children, and successfully start a new life for her family.
Pro Bonos at the Citizenship Workshop
Legal Aid thanks the Pro Bono attorneys from such firms as Fenwick and West, Latham & Watkins, Morgan Lewis, and Morrison & Foerster who donated their time at last week's Citizenship Workshop at Costano Elementary School in East Palo Alto. Nearly 400 potential citizenship applicants were able to receive a legal review of their citizenship application and supporting documents, an application fee waiver, and legal advice from immigration attorneys.
Bay Area NonProfits Magazine Features Legal Aid
Legal Aid Executive Director Stacey Hawver is featured in the cover story of the new issue of Bay Area NonProfits magazine.
In her interview, Stacey stresses the importance of the work being done by Legal Aid: "The Legal Aid Society is an integral part of making sure that everyone has access to justice, regardless of ability to pay."
Read all of Stacey's interview here.
The Parent Project provides FREE resources for caregivers
The Parent Project® is a 12-week class that gives parents, grandparents, and caregivers the tools to build strong and healthy families.
All classes are free, including dinner, childcare, and course materials, and take place from 5:30-9:00 pm at locations in Millbrae, Daly City, Redwood City, South San Francisco, and Menlo Park.
For information and to reserve space in a class, please contact the Parent Project at: www.smchealth.org/ParentProject.
Please note that space is limited, and it is recommended that reservations are made three weeks in advance.
Legal Aid again named a Top-Rated Nonprofit
Legal Aid is once again named a Top-Rated Nonprofit by Great Nonprofits, on their year-end list released this week.
"We are heading into the season of giving back—when donors and volunteers are looking to support nonprofits," said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits. "This Top-Rated List makes it easy to find excellent nonprofits."
Unlike other charity awards, the Top-Rated award winners were selected solely by people who have had involvement with the nonprofit organizations as volunteers, donors, or those who have been helped by the nonprofit.
Read reviews of Legal Aid here.
Support Legal Aid here.
2015 Annual Report is Here
The story of Legal Aid's fight to improve access to justice for all continues with the publication of our 2015 Annual Report.
You'll hear from Board President Mary Lin, and Executive Director Stacey Hawver, read stories of how our work improved the lives of clients, and meet the many Legal Aid staffers, pro bono attorneys, volunteers, and donors who make our work possible.
Read the report online here.
Downloadable pdf here.
Legal Aid Clients Achieve Victory
On Tuesday, November 17th, more than a dozen Legal Aid clients attended the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors meeting to show their support of a moratorium on mobile home park conversions and closures. The moratorium means that eight mobile home parks in unincorporated San Mateo County cannot close or make major conversions for the next 45 days.
Along with Directing Attorney Shirley Gibson, several clients who live in the impacted mobile home parks spoke at the meeting, urging the supervisors to take measures to protect mobile home parks as a unique and irreplaceable form of affordable housing in our county.
The urgency ordinance was adopted by a unanimous vote of the supervisors. While the temporary protection from closures and conversions is in place, the park residents will be working with Legal Aid to provide input to county staff on strengthening protection measures and rent control for the long term.
According to Gibson, "Mobile home parks provide one of the few sources of affordable homeownership in San Mateo County, and are the most stable form of housing we have for low income households. Contrary to the transient implication of the name 'mobile home,' park residents typically remain in their homes for decades, raising children from infancy to college, or living out their retirement years. This is housing that the county cannot afford to lose."
Read more, including quotes from Legal Aid client Magdalena Lara, at the San Mateo Daily Journal.
Legal Aid Observes Pro Bono Week
Legal Aid staffers were key participants in events marking October 2015's observation of Pro Bono Week.
On Tuesday, October 27th, Legal Aid Director of Pro Bono and Staff Attorney Jenny Horne joined legal leaders from Silicon Valley-based legal services providers, sharing their knowledge and experience at Pro Bono Day SV, at Palo Alto's Hewlett Packard Conference Center.
On Thursday, October 29th, Janet helped to top off National Pro Bono Week as Intel hosted a training session and ice cream social to thank their pro bono partners at Morgan Lewis, and their Intel volunteers, for their great contributions to the community in the last year.
Pro Bonos and Legal Aid
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