Fall 2012

In This Issue
LAA assists Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Thank you Pat!
Road Race earns donations for LAA
LAA in the News
paper airplane





THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the Great Give - thanks to your gifts totaling $29,430 we received an additional grant prize of $20,000 from the The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. Your 36 hours of generosity will help us protect the rights of low-income individuals and families in our community.

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You can now make your annual gift to LAA with recurring monthly credit card transactions directly through our website. It's as easy as clicking the GIVE NOW button above. Your support is greatly appreciated.


DREAMers Receive Assistance from LAA


New Haven Legal Assistance began taking applications for people seeking legal advice and assistance regarding applications for "Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals," the program announced by the Obama Administration in June 2012. Beginning August 15, 2012 certain groups of young undocumented immigrants can receive protection against deportation and work permits for two years, which can be renewed. The new federal policy applies to undocumented immigrants who were under 16 when they came to the U.S., have lived here for five continuous years, have a clean criminal record, and were under the age of 30 as of June 15, 2012. Immigrants must be enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, or have served honorably in the military.


LAA is collaborating with the following agencies to provide legal assistance and community education: Apostle Immigrant Services, Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS), JUNTA for Progressive Action, Quinnipiac University School of Law Civil Justice Clinic, and Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School. These organizations work together to provide a wide array of services to the clients, including legal advice and assistance, translation services, and document compilation and preparation.


To date, LAA has assisted over 100 clients, ranging in age from 15 through 30 and residing in towns across New Haven County. Clients have hailed from countries such as Ecuador, Mexico, Jamaica, Argentina, Honduras, Columbia, Guatamala, Peru, and Chile. Attorneys Amy Eppler-Epstein, Sheila Hayre, and James Bhandary-Alexander devote the first hour of each clinic to presenting a brief overview of the eligibility requirements of the clinic and the application process. Depending on the composition of the clinic attendees, this portion of the clinic is conducted in Spanish or English. All three aforementioned attorneys are bilingual. Maria Velez, an LAA paralegal, works diligently to screen all applicants prior to the clinic and assists with creating files for them and organizing their documentation. Volunteer attorneys and law students assist with the clinic each week.


Reflecting on her experience with the clinic so far, Amy Eppler-Epstein commented, "It has been wonderful to get to work with all of these terrific young people. They come in with their files full of awards and accomplishments, and it is great to be able to do something to help them towards a brighter future. One young woman came to the clinic for her third time, with her mother, to have me check over her completed application before she sent it off.   She was so excited and nervous to file it, she actually had her mom seal the envelope for her! And she has been emailing to keep me posted any time she gets any news (such as when she got the confirmation that USCIS had received the application). So often we help clients in such sad, difficult situations, but the cases that qualify for our DACA clinic are all so positive. It is really a ray of sunshine to be able to work on these DACA cases with these young students and their families."


The clinic runs every Wednesday from 2:00-5:00pm at LAA. Interested volunteers may contact Amy Eppler-Epstein at for more information.

Thank you Pat!

On September 20, 2012 current and former LAA staff, members of the legal community, and friends joined in wishing Pat Kaplan a wonderful retirement. Pat served as the executive director for LAA for 21 years and was a legal services attorney for a total of 34 years.

Anthony's Ocean View served as a spectacular location for this celebration.  
anthony's- view 

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Area runners support LAA at
New Haven Road Race


New Haven Legal Assistance was an official charity of this year's Stratton Faxon New Haven Road Race held on September 3, 2012. 
Thanks to your tremendous support, LAA received over $4,000.00 in contributions. A special thank you to the law firm of Wiggin & Dana and Quinnipiac Law School's Public Interest Law Project for their participation and vision in coordinating this effort.

LAA hopes to make this an annual fundraising event, so get those running shoes ready for 2013!




October is host to National Pro Bono Week: October 21-27, 2012.
To learn about Connecticut's pro bono opportunities, go to: 
More on National Pro Bono Week: The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service chose to launch this important initiative because of the increasing need for pro bono services during these harsh economic times and the unprecedented response of attorneys to meet this demand. The National Pro Bono Celebration can be an effective strategic tool for enhancing and expanding local efforts to increase access to justice for all.  
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For questions about New Haven Legal Assistance or to learn how you can help, please contact
Susan Nofi-Bendici, 203-946-4811, ext. 138 or