Lm aF tL r s
At eA SPRING • 2008
on the inside
2 Executive Director Message
3 Cover Article Continued
4 Working for Justice
5 Grants & Honors
6 Pro Bono Matters
7 Law Firm Campaign
8 2007 Annual Dinner
9 Annual Dinner Continued
10 Associates Advisory Board
11 Two LAFLA Victories
12 Save the Date Grand Cru
Subprime mortgage CollapSe iS an
equal opportunity DiSaSter
omeownership is a central component of the mortgages (ARMs) that are likely to cost far more over the life
American Dream; key to building personal financial of the loan than fixed-rate options and carry stiff penalties for
security as well as family and neighborhood stability. paying off the loan early. “Flexibility” and “greater access to
Homeownership rates among under-served groups, including credit” often referred to exotic loans now seen as driving the
low-income households and minorities, have risen to record subprime crisis.
levels in recent years as a result of what at best was termed The subprime mortgage loan industry exploded in volume in
more flexible lending standards and greater access to credit. recent years, with the share of subprime mortgages to total
Today, as the effects of the foreclosure crisis ripple throughout originations jumping from 5% ($35 billion) in 1994 to13%
the economy, this trend is being reversed: the adverse impact of ($160 billion) in 1999 and 20% ($600 billion) in 2006.
the crisis is being disproportionately felt in African American, Nearly 23 percent of all mortgages taken out in 2005 were
Latino, and immigrant communities that have been particular interest-only ARMs, and more than 8 percent were payment-
targets for subprime, often predatory, lenders. Subprime option ARMs. In California, the numbers are even higher:
lending refers to the practice of making loans to borrowers 34 percent of all new mortgages in 2005 were interest-only.
who supposedly do not qualify for market interest rates due Often, consumers could have locked in fixed-rate loans at low
to various risk factors, such as income level, size of the down interest rates but mortgage brokers and lenders downplayed the
payment made, and credit history. Most are adjustable-rate advantages of such loans and instead promoted riskier products
that generated bigger profits.
Foreclosures cont. on 3
Working for Justice in Our Communities Since 1929 t www.lafla.org
MESSAGE from the
s we all know, the U.S. economy is in a turbulent
time. Not only are foreclosures and subprime lending
affecting our communities, but job instability, rising
food and gas prices, pressures on wages, and a range of other
forces are making it harder for people to get by. LAFLA,
as the frontline law firm for low-income communities in
Los Angeles, is already experiencing an increase in requests
for our services, and I am confident that we have yet to see
the full effect of the economic downturn on the demand
for assistance. The full impact of the crisis will continue to
unfold in the coming months and will undoubtedly place Mario Salgado
additional stress on LAFLA’s resources as more and more
people seek our help.
Planning is central to our ability to remain responsive to I want to thank the many individuals, law firms, corporations
burgeoning community needs and to identify how LAFLA and foundations who contribute their time and financial
can provide more and better services to our clients. To that support to help LAFLA solve legal problems and create
end, we are currently undertaking a comprehensive strategic opportunities for our clients. We greatly appreciate your
planning process to gather information and perspectives partnership in our efforts and welcome your continued
from a broad spectrum of clients and potential clients, involvement as we seek to maintain LAFLA as a vital
community groups, staff, board members and others. This resource in our community.
planning process will help us build upon and expand the
incredible work that the staff does every day to protect the
rights and well-being of vulnerable individuals and families SELF-HELP CENTERS HELPED
in our communities. THOUSANDS IN 2007
Planning is central to our ability to LAFLA’s four self-help legal assistance centers located
remain responsive to burgeoning in the Inglewood, Long Beach, Santa Monica, and
community needs and to identify how Torrance courthouses served a total of 16,961 litigants
LAFLA can provide more and better in 2007. Staffed by LAFLA attorneys and paralegals,
and with assistance from volunteers, the clinics serve as
services to our clients. a reliable and welcome resource for their surrounding
communities. They are open five days a week and serve
To be more timely with our information and success
all who come through their doors on a first-come,
stories, we hope to initiate an E-Newsletter. Please e-mail
first-served basis in a wide range of areas, including
Elinor Gilbert, Communications Director at egilbert@
family law, landlord and tenant issues, contract answers
lafla.org to inform us whether you would like to receive the
and civil harrassment. For other areas, staff provide
E-Newsletter and provide us with the name of the person
extensive and up-to-date referrals.
and e-mail address to whom we should send it.
LAFLA E ditorial C ommittEE : The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) is the frontline law
firm for low-income people in Los Angeles. LAFLA is committed to pro-
Mary Ann Heimann Carolina Sheinfeld moting access to justice, strengthening communities, combating discrimina-
MATTERS Millie Heur Kathleen Sheldon tion and effecting systemic change through representation, advocacy and
SPRING 2008 P hotos :
For more information, to be added to the mailing list, or to inquire about
Mary Ann Heimann
volunteer opportunities or making a contribution, please call LAFLA’s
www.lafla.org Toby Rothschild
Carolina Sheinfeld Development Office at (323) 801-7915.
ForeCloSureS cont. from page 1 If the advocate finds indications of fraud, LAFLA retains the
client and obtains the client’s homeownership documents
Though subprime lenders have emphasized the service from lenders, escrow companies, brokers, the county recorder,
they offer by providing credit to consumers who would and notaries. Each advocate spends hours reviewing the
not otherwise get loans, a recent analysis by the Center for documents and interviewing the client looking for Truth-
Responsible Lending asserts that “…while the subprime in-Lending-Act violations, broker misconduct, and forgery.
market has produced more than $2 trillion in home loans This is a time consuming process, as it can take months to
over the past nine years, these loans have led or will lead to retrieve the relevant documents. If LAFLA determines that
a net LOSS of homeownership for almost 1 million families. legal intervention is likely to result in the client keeping
The reason for this net loss? From 1998-2006, only 9% of the home, staff prepare the case for litigation. If there is no
subprime loans went to first-time homebuyers, but over indication of wrongdoing, they counsel the client about his/
15% of subprime loans ended (or will end) with borrowers her rights regarding the foreclosure and eviction process and
losing their homes through foreclosure.” refer him/her to the proper agencies.
The Center for Responsible Lending has called California the
“epicenter” of the national foreclosure crisis. The National
Consumer Law Center reports the foreclosure crisis in
California is bleaker than that of the U.S. as a whole. Fourteen
of the 15 markets with the largest increase in projected
foreclosure rates of subprime loans are in California. High
on the list: the Los Angeles/Long Beach area.
As a result of the mortgage crisis Los Angeles faces a loss
of $8.3 billion in economic output, second only to New
York City and followed by losses averaging $4 billion in
Dallas, Washington, and Chicago. Each foreclosure not
only displaces a family but lowers the values of surrounding Quiet title actions or actions challenging deceptive loans
homes and depresses tax revenues, contributing to municipal typically involve obtaining a TRO to stop the foreclosure,
budget gaps and cuts in public services. filing a quiet title action against any number of brokers,
“Not that long ago, economists said housing was the lenders, realtors, or foreclosure consultants, and seeking
backbone of our economy. Today the foreclosure crisis has declaratory relief to undo the damaging loans. Although
the potential to break the back of our economy, as well as these actions usually settle, litigation lasts for more than
the backs of millions of American families,” said US Council a year and requires hundreds of advocate hours. To assist
of Mayors President Douglas Palmer, Mayor of Trenton, NJ. in our efforts, LAFLA recently received a grant from the
“We must not let the economic numbers mask the face of Institute for Foreclosure Legal Assistance that will fund an
this tragedy – the families who are struggling to pay their additional attorney position.
mortgages and stay in their homes.” Recognizing that collaboration enhances our work, LAFLA
has convened the Advocates for Consumer Justice Foreclosure
LAFLA’s Response Response Team, a coalition of public interest lawyers and
The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles provides several housing counselors including representatives from Bet
levels of assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure who Tzedek, Public Council, Neighborhood Legal Services,
meet program eligibility requirements: The first level is a AARP, the State Attorney General’s office, Neighborhood
telephone consultation with homeowners who have already Housing Services, ACORN, Operation Hope, County of
lost their homes to foreclosure, who are in default, and who Los Angeles Dept. of Consumer Affairs, East Los Angeles
are having trouble making mortgage payments. Advocates Community Development Corp, and the Department of
interview the client, looking for signs of predatory lending, Real Estate, to better address the subprime mortgage crisis.
fraud, or accounting mistakes. If the caller simply cannot The group’s objective is to share information, strategies,
afford the mortgage and there is no indication of wrongdoing, training, and resources and to stretch the reach of legal
the advocate refers the caller to another agency for housing or services attorneys who are involved in mortgage crisis work
debt counseling. LAFLA regularly refers homeowners to the in greater Los Angeles.
local NeighborWorks program for foreclosure counseling. To expand our resources and help more low-income
The hotline is receiving more than 120 calls a week and homeowners, LAFLA is seeking private attorney volunteers
to keep up with the overwhelming number of requests for to take cases for representation. If you wish to volunteer,
assistance from distressed borrowers, the Consumer Unit has please contact Toby Rothschild, General Counsel, at (323)
added a monthly clinic to its hotline consultation process. 801-7978 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justice In Our Community
LAFLA HoLdS toWn HALL meetingS to
expLAin VietnAmeSe repAtriAtion
There are more than 750,000 Vietnamese refugees living in the U.S. Of
this number, 480,000 are located in California, mostly concentrated in
Orange County. Until recently, they were not subject to deportation.
On January 22, 2008, however, the U.S. and Vietnam signed a
repatriation agreement that allows the deportation of Vietnamese
nationals, including refugees and torture survivors. After the agreement
was signed, LAFLA launched an education campaign targeting the
refugee communities in Los Angeles and Orange County. Hundreds of
people attended two town hall meetings. Since the meetings, LAFLA
staff have been fielding calls from Vietnamese individuals from all over
the country and providing them with basic information and referring
them to their local legal aid organizations for immigration assistance.
Judge grAntS petition FAVorAbLe to
New Writs and Receivers Judge James Chalfant has granted the petition
that LAFLA filed, along with the Western Center on Law and Poverty,
in ordering the state to reimburse our client, a CalWORKs recipient,
Panel members from left to right: Anita Le, Asian for school supplies she purchased in pursuing a nursing career. This
Pacific American Legal Center; Yunie Hong, LAFLA; ruling recognizes an important right of those in the “welfare to work”
Kim Luu, LAFLA; Lan Nguyen, Vietnamese attorney process and will affect hundreds of CalWORKs recipients participating
and interpreter. in Self-Initiated Education programs.
LAFLA Senior Attorney WinS importAnt ApeLLAte CASe
On October 24th the California Appellate Court, Second District, granted LAFLA senior attorney Laura Fry’s appeal of a Los Angeles court
commissioner’s refusal to grant custody orders in a domestic violence restraining order case. This is an important win both because of the
difficulty of getting domestic violence cases to the appellate level (most low-income family law litigants are unrepresented and don’t file ap-
peals) and because, when they do get appealed, they are often dismissed as moot when one of the parties goes to a court to get orders about
the issue that is on appeal. Fry argued that, although a different court had made custody and visitation orders in a custody case father filed
after mother filed her appeal, the appellate court should still decide the case because the issue of custody orders in domestic violence cases was
one of great public interest. The court agreed, and ruled that the trial court had erred when it failed to issue a final order granting custody of
the three-year old to the mother.
Fry worked closely with Western Center on Law and Poverty attorney Dick Rothschild, who became co-counsel. The Harriet Buhai Center
for Family Law filed an amicus brief that was signed onto by the Family Law Section and the Executive Committee of the LA County Bar
Association, Break the Cycle, Bay Area Legal Aid, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, the California Women’s Law Center,
Women Lawyers of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice.
grantS anD H onorS
LAFLA received two grants ($47,402 and $24,914) from the County Attorney Kate Marr was selected for the 2008
of Los Angeles (Community Service Block Grants) to provide eviction Making a Difference for Women Award by Soroptomist
defense to low-income tenants who reside in East and South Los Angeles. International of Long Beach for her work with domestic
violence survivors and their children.
The Blue Shield Foundation awarded $60,000 to LAFLA to provide legal
services to battered immigrant women. The funding will fund staff to Senior Attorney Laura Fry received the 2008 Legal Aid
assist the women obtain U-Visas and other benefits available under the Association of California Family Law Award for years of
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). dedicated work on behalf of low-income clients.
The United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights awarded Senior Paralegal Rick Little was honored with a $100
LAFLA a grant of $35,000 to fund assistance to victims of torture. donation for LAFLA and Inner City Law Center’s
Bill Smith Homeless Veterans Project by the Veterans
LAFLA was one of two agencies in California to receive a grant from the Group within Soledad Prison.
Institute for Foreclosure Legal Assistance. LAFLA will receive $300,000.
Attorney Grace K. Lee received an award from the
Korean American Bar Association on March 13 for her
dedicated service to the Korean community.
The National Legal Aid & Defender Assoc-
iation presented LAFLA Board member Amelia
Nieto with its Mary Ellen Hamilton Award, given to “a
legal services client or low-income community leader
who has provided extraordinary service or support to
the delivery of legal services to low-income people.”
Senior Attorney Steve Zrucky was honored by the
South Asian Network for helping SAN to develop
their capacity to assist South Asian workers.
Senior Attorney Susan Millmann was presented with
the Sheila James Kuehl Award by Sojourn (sanctuary
for battered women and their children) for her years of
LAFLA Board Member Amelia Nieto. advocacy on behalf of domestic violence survivors.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2007-2008
preSident ViCe preSident SeCretAry treASurer
Glenn D. Pomerantz Harriet S. Posner Neil B. Martin Paul B. Salvaty
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP City National Bank O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Karen J. Adelseck Robert S. Chapman Helen Hinkson David F. McDowell Geoffrey L. Thomas
Long Beach Senior Latino Club Greenberg Glusker Protection & Advocacy, Inc. Morrison & Foerster LLP Paul, Hastings, Janofsky &
Chris M. Amantea Alan B. Clark Dwayne Hollis Lillian Mobley
Hunton & Williams LLP Latham & Watkins LLP LA-CAN South Central Clients Advisory Maria Torres
Council Inquilidos Unidos
John W. Amberg Guillermo Cruz James E. Hornstein
Bryan Cave LLP Mental Health Advocacy Services Moldex Metric Inc. Mary H. Neale Ronald B. Turovsky
Citigroup Global Markets Inc. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Alexander Auerbach Kevin Dorse Martha Ofelia Jimenez
Alexander Auerbach & Company Theodora Oringher Miller & East Los Angeles Clients Advisory Amelia Nieto Cornell Trotter
Richman PC Council Long Beach Clients Advisory Centro Shalom
Terry B. Bates Council
Reed Smith LLP D. Barclay Edmundson Hattie Johnson Rita L. Tuzon
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP Long Beach Office Clients Advisory R. Alexander Pilmer Fox Cable Networks
Gary Blasi Council Kirkland & Ellis LLP
UCLA School of Law Stephen R. English John C. Ulin
English, Munger & Rice Robert L. Kahan Kent R. Raygor Heller Ehrman White &
Elliot Brown Dreier Stein & Kahan LLP Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & McAuliffe LLP
Irell & Manella LLP Debra L. Fischer Hampton LLP
Bngham McCutchen LLP James M. Lichtman Angela Watson
Abdel Budri NBC Universal Television Group Eduardo Ruiz FAME
West Office Clients Advisory Council James P. Fogelman MALDEF
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Victoria M. Lopez Susan E. Anderson Wise
Christina Burford CARECEN Marc M. Seltzer Attorney at Law
Long Beach Office Clients Advisory Richard Hackenberger Susman Godfrey L.L.P.
Council U.S. Vets - Long Beach Villages at Lisa L. Maki Ronald E. Wood
Cabrillo Law Offices of Lisa L. Maki Susan Soltero Proskauer Rose LLP
Carl J. Busch Children’s Bureau
Northrop Grumman Corporation Mamie C. Henry James M. McAdams
LA VOICE - PICO Pierry & McAdams, LLP Martin T. Tachiki
Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office
Pro Bono Matters
Gibson Attorneys Prevent Eviction of Single Mother
Ms. Gonzales (not her real name) is a single mother working her way through college. She has lived in the same apartment
in Gardena for several years. After successfully defending herself in a prior eviction action, Ms. Gonzales was served with
another 3-day notice to pay rent or quit. On the last day of the notice period, Ms. Gonzales attempted to pay rent, but
the landlord was not at home during the hours stated in the notice. Later that night the landlord told Ms. Gonzales that
she must pay rent with a money order, even though the 3-day notice specifically allowed payment by personal check. The
landlord told her to give him the money order the following morning. When she returned the next morning with a cashier’s
check, the landlord returned it to her as “late” and filed suit to evict her. LAFLA placed the case with pro bono attorneys
Joseph Marra and Matt Wickersham of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. Marra and Wickersham, working with partner
Timothy Hatch, learned that Ms. Gonzales had carefully documented all of her past payments to the landlord. During
a three-hour bench trial, Marra and Wickersham presented testimony from Ms. Gonzales and her neighbor that she had
attempted to pay rent in compliance with the notice, but was told by the landlord to return the next day with a money
order. The court found that Ms. Gonzales’ testimony, in conjunction with her history of diligent attempts to pay rent, was
more credible than the testimony presented by the landlord. Based on this finding, the court ruled in favor of Ms. Gonzales.
The court concluded that she had tendered rent in compliance with the notice, and that the landlord waived payment
within the notice period by requesting a later payment.
LAFLA and O’Melveny Attorney Fee Award Upheld
Tai Glenn, Directing Attorney of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles’ Housing Unit, and pro bono attorneys Paul
B. Salvaty, Catalina J. Vergara, and Shannon Keast of the law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP successfully represented 32
tenants against their slumlord for forcible detainer, wrongful eviction, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Four of
the tenants had leases that awarded attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party in any civil action “in connection with” the lease.
In a decision certified for publication, the California Court of Appeal upheld an award of nearly $124,000 in attorneys’
fees to the four tenants. In addition the court noted that the decision should not be construed as supporting the trial court’s
judgment to reduce the fee request because O’Melveny took the case pro bono, finding: “[O]ur research uncovered no case
in which a trial court reduced a fee award simply because of the ‘pro bono type of work’ involved.”
Manatt Attorney Defends Disabled Domestic Violence Victim
Ms. Carson, who has cerebral palsy, came into LAFLA’s Santa Monica Domestic Violence Clinic because her boyfriend
shoved, kicked, and threatened her. Melissa Goetz of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP successfully negotiated with the
boyfriend’s attorney for a five-year restraining order, the maximum available under state law, sparing Ms. Carson from the
stress of a formal hearing. The boyfriend was ordered to stay away and refrain from making any attempts to contact Ms.
Carson. Goetz also negotiated for the boyfriend to reimburse Ms. Carson in full for charges he ran up on her cell phone.
Trainings for New Volunteers
Upcoming trainings for new LAFLA volunteers. Volunteers must register in advance and a minimum volunteer commitment is required.
Saturday, June 7, 2008—8:30 aM to 1:30 P.M. Domestic Violence Prevention Courthouse Clinic Training
Pro bono attorneys and law students are needed to assist domestic violence victims in the Santa Monica Courthouse Clinic.
Volunteers commit to one clinic per month for six months at the Santa Monica Courthouse. Volunteers must register in
Ken Edwards Center, 1527 4th Street, Santa Monica. 4.5 CLE hours.
Registration/Information: email@example.com or (323) 801-7969.
For more information and future training dates, please go to www.lafla.org/support/volunteer/ or contact Toby Rothschild, Acting Director
of Private Attorney Involvement at firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 801-7978.
2008 Law Firm Campaign Launched
The 2008 Annual Fund Drive Law Firm Campaign was kicked-off this winter under the leadership of three co-chairs
representing diverse segments of the legal community—Seth Aronson of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, James Lichtman of
NBC Universal and Marc Seltzer of Susman & Godfrey L.L.P. This year, under a new structure, the co-chairs will be
supported in their efforts by attorney Ron Turovsky of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP who has volunteered to head
the Law Firm Campaign subcommittee of the LAFLA board. The subcommittee will work in tandem with the three
co-chairs to generate support and provide follow-up to the Campaign.
Mr. Turovsky expressed his delight to be heading the Law Firm Campaign subcommittee. Said Turovsky, “I look
forward to working with the subcommittee and with Seth, Jamie and Marc to help LAFLA raise the funds needed to
ensure its ability to continue to provide the high-quality legal assistance to low-income residents it is well-known for
in our community.”
As a significant component of LAFLA’s Annual Fund Drive overall private fund-raising effort, the Law Firm Campaign
raises over half a million dollars yearly from a combination of large to small-sized firms, corporate law departments and
sole practitioners. LAFLA thanks Seth Aronson, James Lichtman, Marc Seltzer and Ron Turovsky and the members of
the Law Firm Campaign subcommittee for their exemplary commitment to LAFLA. We look forward to acknowledg-
ing all the supporters of the 2008 Law Firm Campaign in our next issue of LAFLA Matters.
2007 LAW FIRM CAMPAIGN PARTNERS IN EQUAL JUSTICE
Maxwell M. Blecher, Co-Chair Jeffrey A. LeVee, Co-Chair
Blecher & Collins, P.C. Jones Day
LEADERSHIP FIRMS Pansky & Markle Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.
(Giving $300+ per attorney or $30,000+ at the Rintala, Smoot, Jaenicke & Rees LLP Goodwin Proctor LLP
Sustaining, Supporting or Benefactor level) Stefan M. Mason, A Mediation Corporation Hahn & Hahn LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell Hart, Watters & Carter
Bingham McCutchen LLP Susman Godfrey L.L.P. Hennigan, Bennett & Dorman
English, Munger & Rice Taylor Summers Rhodes Rasmussen Brooke Hillel Chodos, Attorney at Law
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP & Woodard LLP Jones Day
Irell & Manella LLP Kaye Scholer LLP
Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices of Southern Knee, Ross & Silverman LLP
California, P.C. SUPPORTING FIRMS Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP
Latham & Watkins LLP ($225 or more per attorney) Lim, Ruger & Kim, LLP
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP Magana, Cathcart & McCarthy
Jaffe & Clemens
O’Melveny & Myers LLP Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Proskauer Rose LLP
Pierry & McAdams, LLP McDermott Will & Emery
Sidley Austin LLP Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
BENEFACTOR FIRMS Morrison & Foerster LLP
($200 or more per attorney) Murchison & Cumming
SUSTAINING FIRMS Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
($250 or more per attorney) Blumberg Law Corporation Owens & Gach Ray
Blecher & Collins, P.C. Finkelberg & Finkelberg Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP
Folger Levin & Kahn LLP Greenberg Glusker Petillon & Hiraide LLP
Fulwider Patton Lee & Utecht, LLP Nachshin & Weston, LLP Reed Smith LLP
Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP Rose, Klein & Marias, LLP
Howarth & Smith OTHER PARTICIPATING Rosenbloom & Rosenbloom, LLP
Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP Rutter, Hobbs & Davidoff Incorporated
Law Office of James E. Hornstein FIRMS Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Law Offices of Gary A. Freedman Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP Stutman, Treister & Glatt Professional
Leidner & Leidner Bryan Cave LLP Corporation
Levine & Unger Carroll, Kelly, Trotter, Franzen & McKenna Wasser, Cooperman & Carter
Lightfoot Vandevelde Sadowsky Crouchley Chadbourne & Parke LLP Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman &
Rutherford & Levine LLP Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP Dicker LLP
Access Annual Benefit Celebrates Rick Finkelstein, Brad
to Justice Brian and McDermott Will & Emery LLP For Their
Dinner Exemplary Support of Access to Justice
AFLA’s 2007 Access to Justice Dinner on November 7th at the Beverly
Hilton Hotel was the most successful in the nine-year history of the event,
generating over $814,000 in voluntary support from the legal, corporate
and entertainment industries.
LAFLA was pleased to honor premier international law firm McDermott Will &
Emery with the Pro Bono Service Award for their contribution of over 3,400 pro
bono hours litigating two major affirmative slum housing cases. In both cases,
slumlords attempted to force tenants—seniors and working poor families—out
of their rent-controlled units in violation of the law by stripping the buildings to
their bare bones and making them uninhabitable. The firm’s efforts stabilized the
lives of the poor families trapped in these housing nightmares and are sending a
message to unscrupulous landlords all over the city: Slumlords are not welcome in
Rick Finkelstein, Vice Chairman, Universal Pictures and Executive Vice President,
Universal Studios, was honored with the Access to Justice Award. Mr. Finkelstein is
a champion of NBC Universal’s corporate commitment to partnering with public
service law firms, especially LAFLA, to provide pro bono legal assistance to low-
income men, women and children who otherwise would be denied access to justice
because of their poverty. Accepting the award, Mr. Finkelstein said, “When you
see poor people losing their residences to unscrupulous landlords because they
don’t have the means to fight back, as evidenced by the video you watched tonight,
it makes you appreciate the courageous work performed by the attorneys who
Top trial attorney and past LAFLA board president Brad D. Brian, Munger, Tolles
& Olson LLP was honored with the Maynard Toll Award for Distinguished Public
Service for devoting countless hours and energy over the course of this career to
public service, pro bono work, and human rights advocacy, both in the U.S. and
Photo on the left: 2007 MaynardToll
Award recipient Brad Brian (center)
with LAFLA Board President and
Dinner Co-Chair Glenn Pomerantz
and Dinner Co-chair and Toll Award
presenter Bert Deixler.
Photo on the right: 2007 Access
to Justice Award recipient Rick
Finkelstein receives the award
from Ron Meyer, President & Chief
Operating Officer, Universal Studios.
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP
Hogan & Hartson LLP
Oaktree Capital Management
City National Bank
Dreier Stein & Kahan LLP
Foley & Lardner LLP
Fox Entertainment Group, Inc.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Katten Muchen rosenman LLP
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
McDermott Will & Emery
Microsoft Media & Entertainment Group
Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP
Presentation of the 2007 Pro Bono Service Award: front row from L-R, McDermott Navigant Consulting, Inc.
Will & Emery attorneys Michelle Shvarts, Michelle Manzo and Elizabeth Mann O’Melveny & Myers LLP
with LAFLA client Richard Kaine and the firm’s Chairman Harvey Freishtat; back Proskauer Rose LLP
row: McDermott attorneys Charles Weir, Joshua Kweller & Jason Strabo with Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
LAFLA attorney Christian Abasto (second from left).
Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP
Bingham McCutchen LLP
Brad D. Brian, Esq.
abroad. As Chair of the 75,000 member Litigation Section of the American Capital Group Companies, Inc.
Bar Association in 2005-2006, Mr. Brian helped bring relief to victims of Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil &
Hurricane Katrina and presided over wide-ranging programs to represent Shapiro LLP
inmates on Death Rows throughout the country and to find needed legal Michael R, Doyen, Esq.
representation for pro bono clients across the land. As a member of LAFLA’s English, Munger & Rice
Irell &Manella LLP
Board of Directors from 1995-2002 and its President in 2000-2001, Mr. JAMS
Brian helped to substantially increase private donations in the wake of Legal Jones Day
Latham & Watkins LLP
Services Corporation cutbacks and presided over LAFLA’s successful merger Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
with the Legal Aid Foundation of Long Beach. Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
Morrison & Foerster LLP
We are grateful to all the Dinner Co-Chairs, most notably steering committee Northrop Grumman Corporation
Nossaman Guthner Knox & Elliot LLP
members Stephen English, James Hornstein, Neil Martin, Glenn Pomerantz, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Harriet Posner, Paul Salvaty, Marc Seltzer and Rita Tuzon, for their efforts in Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP
Pierry & McAdams, LLP
making the event such a rewarding and memorable evening. We also thank Glenn D. Pomerantz, Esq.
our distinguished honorees and the many Benefactors, Patrons, Sponsors, Harriet Spaulding Posner, Esq.
and other supporters whose generosity will help LAFLA sustain its program Reed Smith LLP
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP
and services in the years to come. Michael E. Soloff, Esq.
Susman Godfrey L.L.P.
Universal Music Group
Weissmann Wolff Bergman Coleman Grodin &
Winston & Strawn LLP
Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Gilbert-Lurie,
Stiffelman, Cook, Johnson, Lande & Wolf LLP
Blecher & Collins, P.C.
Bryan Cave LLP
Lisa L. Maki
Mayer Brown LLP
Rintala, Smoot, Jaenicke & Rees LLP
Spillane Shaeffer Aronoff Bandlow LLP
Theodora Oringher Richman & Miller
laFla assoCiatEs advisory Board NEws
Frank Rorie, Chair
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Associates Advisory Board Pantea Yashar, 1st Vice Chair
Chair Frank Rorie addresses Kirkland & Ellis LLP
AABFab guests at the 2007
Robert Herrington, 2nd Vice Chair
summer event held at The Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Ofer Bleiweiss, Irell & Manella LLP
Alan Chiu, Latham & Watkins LLP
Kim Foster, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Chad Geving, O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Charles Gomez, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Mike Gonzales, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory &
Hartwell Harris, Bingham McCutchen LLP
Krystal Hauserman, Greenberg Glusker
Tyler Johnson, Bryan Cave LLP
Raymond Kim, Reed Smith LLP
uilding on its success from last year, the Associates Tamara McCrossen, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP
Advisory Board (“AAB”) is off to a great start for 2008. Sarah F. Powers, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Christopher Rivas, Reed Smith LLP
In December, 23 associates representing 18 firms renewed Javier Rivera, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
their commitment to LAFLA by agreeing to serve another year Ann Robinson, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Sheryl Rosenberg, Sedgwick Detert Moran & Arnold LLP
on the AAB. Since then, the board has added six new members Craig Rutenberg, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP
and one new firm and is poised to add even more members in the Margarita Salazar, Bryan Cave LLP
months ahead. Monica Scheetz, Morrison & Foerster LLP
Jennifer Sepic, Bingham McCutchen LLP
In January, officers and committee chairs were elected for 2008: Hwannie Shen, Winston & Strawn LLP
David Shraga, Dreier Stein Kahan Browne Woods George LLP
Executive Committee (Frank Rorie, Chair; Pantea Yashar and Michelle Shvarts, Winston & Strawn LLP
Robert Herrington, Vice-Chairs); Pro Bono Committee (Chris Ming Tam, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Catalina Vergara, O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Rivas and Charles Gomez, Chairs); Fundraising Committee Anita Wu, Latham & Watkins LLP
(Hartwell Harris and Jennifer Sepic, Chairs); Social/Outreach
Committee (Javier Rivera and Kim Foster, Chairs). The new
leadership is excited about the challenges that await them and
already has been hard at work.
The Pro Bono Committee continues to work with Shelia
Neville of LAFLA to develop and support our Victims of Crime
Immigration Clinic. This clinic helps individuals who have been
the victim of violent crime obtain work permits, Social Security
cards, and visas in exchange for assisting law enforcement in the
prosecution of crime.
The Fundraising Committee recently concluded the Associates
Campaign for 2007-2008. We are pleased to report (at the time AABfab SUMMER
of publication) that the Campaign had its best year ever raising
over $43,000! These contributions will be used to help LAFLA SOIREE
fund the salaries of its three AmeriCorps members.
And with summer right around the corner, the Social/Outreach
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Committee is busy planning our annual AAB Fab Summer Event.
This year, the event will be held at The Edison in downtown Los
Angeles on June 11, 2008. The event brings together hundreds
of law firm and summer associates each year to raise awareness
of LAFLA and promises to be another rousing success this year.
Please contact Ludmila Montoya at (213) 640-3894 if you are
interested in purchasing tickets to this AAB-solutely fabulous
event, and stay tuned for further updates from the AAB.
asiaN aNd PaCiFiC islaNdEr
UNit writ GraNtEd iN sEXUal Your Donation
assaUlt CasE is important
sian and Pacific Islander Unit Directing Attorney
Joann Lee and Family Law Unit staff attorney Ji- Here’s how you can help sustain LAFLA’s
Lan Zang successfully represented a monolingual mission to change the lives of poor people!
Korean-speaking woman who was being sexually assaulted by
the landlord from whom she and her four-year old daughter Make a cash gift.
were renting a room. The landlord told her she could pay Make a gift of appreciated securities or real estate.
rent after she obtained a job or government benefits. He then Make a commemorative gift in honor or memory of a
demanded that she perform household chores and started colleague or loved one.
attacking her sexually. He repeatedly reminded her that she Designate LAFLA in a planned gift (will, trust,
owed him money and progressively increased her debts while
warning her that he had a history of harming and killing people
who did not pay him back. The landlord also propositioned Make an in-kind gift of goods or services.
the client, stating that she could pay off her debts by providing Contributions to the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles are
him sexual services. tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Lee assisted the client with obtaining safety at a sexual assault TAX ID # 95-1684067.
shelter and filed for civil harassment restraining orders. The For additional information about how you can support the Legal
client was granted temporary protection and given a hearing Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, please call the Development Office
date but was unable to have the landlord served before the at (323) 801-7915 or log onto our website at www.lafla.org.
On the date of the hearing, Lee requested a continuance and
a reissuance of the temporary orders. Without listening to the Thank you for your interest in
client’s situation, the court refused to reissue the restraining and support of our work.
orders pending the continuance, stating that it did not reissue
such orders as a matter of policy.
Believing that this was a systemic problem that would The Court of Appeals responded to the writ within hours,
endanger victims of sexual assault, Lee decided to file a writ instructing the lower court to grant the reissuance of the
with the Court of Appeals. She argued that the court’s policy temporary orders. At the hearing, Zang represented the
constituted an abuse of discretion, placing the client and her client and obtained a three-year restraining order against
daughter in extreme danger. the landlord, protecting her and her daughter.
CaliForNia CoUrt oF aPPEal aFFirms $70,000 JUdGmENt For
domEstiC worKEr iN historiC PUBlishEd dECisioN
mployment Law Unit senior attorneys Steve Zrucky and Betty Hung and staff attorney Anel Flores successfully represented
domestic worker Josefa Gonzalez in an appeal before the California Court of Appeal. For several years, Ms. Gonzalez
had toiled nearly 70 hours a week cooking, cleaning, and caring for her employers for a mere $5 to $6 an hour—less
than the state minimum wage. Ms. Gonzalez, with her attorneys’ assistance, filed an administrative wage claim with the Labor
Commissioner and won a judgment for $70,000 in unpaid wages, penalties, and interest. The employers, who had failed to
appear in the Labor Commissioner proceeding, appealed to the Superior Court to set aside the judgment on the grounds that
they had failed to receive actual notice of the underlying Labor Commissioner administrative wage claim. The trial court ruled
in Ms. Gonzalez’ favor, denying the motion to set aside. The employers then appealed to the Court of Appeal.
In a decision certified for publication, the Court of Appeal affirmed the $70,000 judgment in favor of Ms. Gonzalez, holding
that the defendants had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies as required by Labor Code Section 98(f ). This is the first
published case in California to interpret a defendant employer’s duty under Labor Code Section 98(f ) to exhaust administrative
remedies before appealing to the Superior Court, and will help to ensure due process for the tens of thousands of pro per
claimants who file Labor Commissioner wage claims each year.
Long Beach grand cru
The annual outdoor event that serves
over 1,000 award-winning wines
and food from the Southland’s great
restaurants will take place on Saturday,
August 16, 2008 at the Rainbow Lagoon
in downtown Long Beach.
For more informaion and to purchase
sponsorships or tickets, contact Executive
Producer Ludmila Montoya at (213) 640-3894
or email email@example.com.
1102 CRENSHAW paiD
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LOS ANGELES, CA PErmit No.
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Working for Justice in Our Communities Since 1929.
LAFLA is funded by Legal Services Corporation
and the United Way
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