The Advocate
Guarding Justice f0r Alabama's Poor
October, 2017
Our Donors are Heroes to low income, vulnerable and elderly clients statewide!
   Your Support to LSA's helps:

  • Keep families safe from domestic violence
  • Prevent foreclosures & illegal evictions
  • Advocate for Veterans and the Elderly 
  • Protect the wages of working poor families
  • Empower citizens through community outreach & education
  • Restore Dignity to low income individuals and families 

Be a Hero! Change a life!
Become a Guardian of Justice today!  

Your donation means so much to the almost one million people living in poverty throughout Alabama!  Over 90% of LSA's budget is spent directly on services to our clients!

LSA appreciates our partners and new donors who support our mission of serving the poor statewide:

-The Barbara McDowell and Gerald S. Hartman Foundation
-The Daniel Foundation
-The Annie E. Casey Foundation (partnership with Alabama Appleseed)
Staff Spotlight: Pamela Jackson, Lead Attorney, Huntsville office
Why have you chosen to advocate on behalf of poor people? 
Growing up, my family had its share of hard times, and I often saw my own Mother struggle with the same problems many of our clients face today. She often felt like there was no place to go and no one to ask for help. I decided at a young age that I wanted to be that person, if not for her, then for others who so often just need to feel like there is someone on their side, someone there to help them. This job allows me to be that someone for so many people, and I am thankful for everyday that I get to do this.

What is your most memorable experience? 
There are so many wonderful memorable experiences that I don’t really think I can pick just one. But some of the best experiences are when you get to call an abused spouse and let them know that they are free, their divorce is final; or you go to court with someone who is being wrongfully foreclosed or evicted, and help them to still have a roof over their head at night- the smiles on their faces, and the relief in their words, there is nothing else like it. 

What advice can you give attorneys thinking about working with LSA and its offices? 
 I would probably say, go for it- this is not an easy job, it can take a lot out of you mentally, emotionally and intellectually, but it is so worth it! At the end of the day, it is easily some of the most rewarding work I have done in my life, and our clients are so thankful for all that we do. My only caution would be, you’ve got to keep a healthy work-life balance! At times, it can be so emotional and so easy to let this work overwhelm you, but you can’t let it do that to you. You’ve got to take care of yourself too.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  
  My favorite thing to do is spend time with family and friends- especially my sister, who is also my best friend! We do so much together. I also like to go to the gym and spend time outdoors, walking, or hiking. I’ve just recently gotten into photography, and I especially like taking nature photos.

* Pamela Jackson received her bachelor's from Athens State University and went on to get her J.D. from the Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama. Her legal career began as a Staff Attorney at the Anniston office of Legal Services Alabama in August of 2005. She later moved to the Huntsville area, and has worked in LSA's Huntsville office as a Staff Attorney since 2009, and as a Lead Attorney since 2011. Her current practice includes divorce with domestic violence, consumer, housing, and public benefits with a focus on consumer debt collections. Jackson has also been a past leader of the Consumer practice group, and took the lead role on the Pruett Appeal to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.
Client Success Stories:
Huntsville office prevents homelessness!

Congratulations to Pamela Jackson, Lead Attorney in the Huntsville office, who was able to protect a client's home!

Our client, who is elderly, and spouse were being evicted for nonpayment from public housing. The client has lived in the complex for many years and had gotten behind on rent due to health problems. Additionally, our client was trying to get assistance to get payments caught up. Our Attorney represented the client in court and got the case dismissed. The attorney also got the LL to agree to continue accepting our client's rent and no new notice or filing.

Congratulations to our Huntsville advocates for protecting the elderly and preventing homelessness!
Tuscaloosa office protects Client's home!

Congratulations to Rick Chambless, Staff Attorney in the Tuscaloosa office, who protected client's home and helped to obtain other benefits!

Our client was sued by his Landlord for both eviction and more than $3,300 in unpaid rent. At trial, our attorney proved that the Landlord had accepted rent from client after giving him a lease termination notice. Our attorney was also able to prove that more than $700 of the amount the Landlord claimed for unpaid rent and fees had been illegally charged to the client. The Landlord had previously filed a suit against our client in January 2017, and then maintained the suit, even after accepting more than $7,000 from client in rent between January and May 2017.

The Landlord only dismissed the previous suit on the same say he filed the current suit. During that time, the Landlord also claimed to have paid more than $400 in "legal expenses," and charged client $132.50 per month in "late fees." Our attorney proved that the legal fees had never been incurred, as the Landlord represented himself in both actions. Our attorney also successfully argued that the "late fees" were being illegally charged under the theory that they violated 35-9A-424 to wit: Landlord cannot charge the tenant a fee for not paying rent when the Landlord cannot accept rent without waiving the right to evict
Landlord cannot have his cake and eat it too!

In the end, the Court accepted our Attorney's argument and disallowed all but court costs for the prior action!

Congratulations to our Tuscaloosa office advocates for protecting a client's home and obtaining other benefits!

Montgomery office obtains a divorce for DV victim!

Congratulations to Jim Smith, longtime DV Staff Attorney in the Montgomery office, who was able to protect a husband from his abusive wife!

Our client's wife was abusive to him and threatened him repeatedly in videos that she sent him. The client's wife came to his place of employment and tried to get him fired. A divorce was granted with protection order and a judgment of $1,500 entered for reimbursement our client paid as a down payment for a car.

Congratulations to our Montgomery office advocates for recovering our client's money as well as obtaining an annulment to help stop an abusive marriage!

Birmingham office stops wage garnishment!

Congratulations to Rae Bolton, Staff Attorney in the Birmingham office, who fought to protect a client's wages!

Our client, a single mother of three, had a garnishment from a car repossession in 2009. Because the creditor waited eight years to attempt to collect, the judgment had nearly doubled with costs and interest. After our attorney filed a claim of exemption, our client was able to have her garnishment squashed and the $800 that was garnished will be returned to her!

Thank you to our Birmingham office advocates for preventing a wage garnishment against a single mother!
LSA Celebrates Domestic Violence Awareness and
Breast Cancer Awareness in October
Voter Rights
Restoration Clinic
Northport/Tuscaloosa, AL * October 6th & 7th
Members of the Tuscaloosa County Office of the Public Defender
(From L-R): Pam Barnes, LSA Administrative Assistant; Joseph Abrams, Staff Attorney, Tuscaloosa office; Jonathan Barry-Blocker, Staff Attorney, Birmingham office; the Rev. Tommie L. Watkins, Jr., of Canterbury Chapel Episcopal Church; and Willie Mays Jones, Managing Attorney, Tuscaloosa office.
Members of Weeping Mary Missionary Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, AL
Tuscaloosa office Staff Attorney Ricky Chambless works at a restoration clinic held Oct. 7.
  Thank you for providing
Help & Hope
to low-income people throughout Alabama!  

*Upcoming Events*

Free Civil Legal Clinic
Friday, October 27 from 10 am to 2 pm
401 S. Decatur St., Montgomery

Services offered include:
Voter Rights Restoration Clinic
Low-income Taxpayer Clinic
Domestic Violence victim assistance
Consumer Collections
Loss of Public Benefits

LSA thanks our many community partners and service providers for their support and contributions to this community outreach event in honor of Pro Bono Month!
Support our Veteran Services 
  LSA provides free, civil legal services to Veterans!   
L SA continues providing legal services to Veterans by providing on site services through a partnership with the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System. LSA is dedicated to providing holistic solutions to the root issues plaguing low-income and homeless Veterans. An LSA attorney and intake specialist will be available on Wednesdays at two VA locations to provide legal assistance to Veterans: 
Montgomery VA Medical Center on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month and the Tuskegee VA on the first, third, and fifth Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The Advocate is published monthly by Communications & Community Development Coordinator, Desiree Taylor