Spring is a time for renewal, change, and growth.
VLJ has undergone some big changes in 2017
already, including my new role as the Executive Director for Volunteer Lawyers for Justice.
I am so energized by the opportunity to work with VLJ's amazingly talented board, staff, and volunteers - together we are fighting for justice for vulnerable client populations in our state. And with changing policies and priorities of our government, the need for free legal services has never been greater. In a response to the growing legal demands of veterans and low-income tenants, this year VLJ began the Veterans Legal Wellness Clinic and the Tenancy Clinic, which are fully described
in the article below
I cannot say enough about the impressive work performed by our volunteers and staff in 2016. Last year, VLJ assisted 4,778 people through our 12 distinct legal programs. Our volunteer attorneys donated 5,155 volunteer hours, with a value of $1.8 million. That level of volunteer commitment is astonishing!
In order to help support VLJ's growth, this week VLJ is launching the second year of our JUST ONE campaign. This 8-week campaign asks individual lawyers in our community to support the valuable work performed by VLJ, by donating the equivalent of "just one" billable hour. You will receive periodic emails about the JUST ONE effort throughout the campaign and I ask you to consider becoming a donor today. As one of our clients so eloquently stated, "There are many people out there who also aren't being heard and VLJ lawyers can give them a voice, like mine gave me." Please visit our JUST ONE website at
and make a donation today. It is only through your help that we can ensure that justice is for all and not just for those who can afford it. Thank you!
Cathy Keenan, Esq.
Introducing the Veterans Legal
Wellness Clinic and Tenancy Clinic
VLJ is excited to announce two new legal programs this year. The Veterans Legal Wellness Clinic is the first legal services clinic to be held regularly at the East Orange VA Hospital and is the newest program in our Veterans Legal Program. VLJ is proud to partner with the legal departments of BASF and Panasonic, as well as
the law fir
ms, Day Pitney LLP, Nukk-Freeman & Cerra PC, and McGuire Woods LLP on this ground-breaking new program. In this clinic, volunteer attorney teams conduct holistic intake interviews of veterans - to get to the root legal issues that plague the vete
rans served. Volunteer
attorneys provide advice and brief service when possible
and refer cases needing fuller representation to VLJ's
other legal services providers. It is hard to believe that this week will mark our 4t
h clinic w
here we are serving on average 15 veterans. Kaleia Edmundo and Michelle Smith are the talented VLJ st
aff leading the new program and the response from the veteran community has been overwhelmingly positive.
Spotlight on Service: Matt Leff
The primary wish of so many low-income clients struggling with debt is simply to have a fresh start. That is exactly what Matt Leff has been providing for the past seven years through his volunteer work with VLJ.
Matt, a patent attorney at Merck & Co., leads the Bankruptcy in a Box Program.
VLJ's Second Annual
A Benefit for the Children's Representation Program
6:30 - 9:30
*public sector reduced rate available
NJ Family Lawyer Magazine
In January 2017, an article written by VLJ staff attorney Kaleia Edmundo was published in New Jersey Family Lawyer Magazine. The article discusses the need for New Jersey attorneys to handle pro bono matters, the benefits of pro bono work, and things to consider before deciding to do pro bono work. Ms. Edmundo manages VLJ's Child Support Program, Divorce Program, and Veterans Wellness Clinic.