The Advocate
April 2018
Our Donors are Heroes to low income individuals, vulnerable Veterans, and elderly clients statewide!
    Your Support to LSA 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!
Attorney Spotlight : Maceo Kirkland, Tax Attorney, Montgomery Office
Why have you chosen to advocate on behalf of low income people? 
Throughout my career of over 18 years, including private practice, most of my clients have been poor people. I have always derived the greatest satisfaction from helping a poor person in dire straits. Working for LSA allows me to do this all the time.

What is your most memorable experience
(at LSA)? 
It's hard to pinpoint just one experience that is the most memorable, but there is one case that stands out that I had during my earlier years on working on the LITC (low income taxpayer clinic) project. My client had been audited by the IRS due to having a large amount of income during the year in issue. My client had received a civil court settlement for damages to his house caused by termite infestation. The pest control company he hired to assist him negligently failed to inspect his house for termites, causing him to incur severe damage. The IRS proposed a large tax deficiency based on the settlement proceeds paid to client. My first reaction was to concede their audit and simply assist the client in dealing with the debt; however, after inquiring from an online tax listserve and conducting research into the applicable tax law, I concluded that we could challenge the audit. Therefore, I filed a petition in the U.S. Tax Court, arguing that inasmuch as my client used the settlement proceeds to repair the damage to his house he replaced a capital asset, which made the proceeds nontaxable income. The IRS counsel conceded our position, and client was left owing a small tax liability due to his other income. The IRS placed the remaining debt into a non-collectible status. This result was especially satisfying since this client was in poor health due to being HIV positive.

What advice can you give attorneys thinking about joining LSA?
My advice to any potential LSA staff attorney is to be prepared to deal with a variety of issues that will come up in their cases.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  
In my spare time I like to read new books and often reread books I've read many times before. My favorite authors are John Grisham, Scott Turow, and William Bernhardt. I also enjoying going to movies with friends and participating in church small groups.

* Maceo Kirkland joined LSA in July 2006. His specialty areas include: family law, consumer law, bankruptcy, and public benefits. As an Attorney for LSA's Low Income Taxpayer Clinic since 2008, Kirkland represents individuals in controversies before the Internal Revenue Service in audits, appeals of audits, and the United States Tax Court. Kirkland's legal experience includes: personal injury, wills & estates, contracts, family law, and criminal defense. Kirkland earned a J.D. from the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law (2008) and was admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 1999. Kirkland currently serves as Staff Attorney in the Montgomery Regional Office.
LSA receives Grant Award for their service to the Community
Legal Services Alabama was honored by the City of Birmingham on April 3. Mayor Randall Woodfin and the City Council presented an award for its CDBG program during National Community Development Week held April 2-6. LSA's Birmingham Office was one of three grantees out of 36 programs who were recognized. LSA received CDBG funding for the Property Protection Project under the program application direction of LSA Deputy Director and Resource Development Director, Jaffe Pickett, which allowed the hiring of two staff to successfully serve the residents of the City of Birmingham. "We are thankful to the City of Birmingham and to the Mayor and City Council for this great honor. We look forward to a continued successful grant partnership with our Birmingham Regional Office."

 Congratulations to our Birmingham Office for their continued commitment to improving the community through civil legal services and Community Outreach and Education!
Birmingham Managing Attorney: Barbara Luckett
CDBG Staff Attorneys: Michael Letson & Lisa Overton
LSA Attorney Defends the Rights of Children

Legal Services Alabama congratulates Chris McCary, Staff Attorney in the Anniston/Gadsden Office, on his recent win at the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals!
The Case centered on the issue of whether non-biological parents can terminate the parent-child relationship after acting as a parent for more than a decade. Congratulations Chris! LSA is proud of you!

A Spirit of Service in The Wiregrass

LSA Dothan Office Advocates participated in the Houston County Gives Day on April 20. The Office joined forces with more than 36 other nonprofit agencies to promote the spirit of service. LSA greatly appreciates the Dothan Office's participation in the Houston County Gives Day every year!

Pictured: Tracie Melvin, Managing Attorney and Rachelle Greczyn, Staff Attorney, Dothan Office.
 Client Success Stories:
Dothan Office

Congratulations to Rachelle Greczyn, Staff Attorney in the Dothan Office, who was able to help a client escape an abusive, violent marriage!

Our client, who is Spanish speaking, was in an abusive marriage and left after the abuser had threatened to kill her. Our client had gone to the House of Ruth, a nonprofit facility that provides temporary, safe shelter to battered women and their children. The Shelter referred her to LSA. Our client was living with a Section 8 voucher in Eufaula, AL, but wanted to transfer her voucher to Dothan because she was afraid to live in the same place as her abuser. Our Advocate opened up a separate Section 8 case and negotiated the transfer for our client's voucher to the Dothan Housing Authority, who initially told the House of Ruth that it couldn't accept the voucher. LSA filed for divorce for the client. The abuser was served. He did not answer. Our Advocate filed a default, and the Judge granted a default divorce with permanent Protection From Abuse language. Our Advocate utilized LSA's Spanish hotline for client meetings.

Congratulations to our Dothan Office Advocates who assisted a client in gaining a Protection From Abuse Order, enabling the client to break free from abuse!
Birmingham office

Congratulations to Lisa Overton, Staff Attorney in the Birmingham Office, who helped to protect a client's income.

Our Advocate represented our client in an unemployment compensation appeal hearing. After more than eight (8) years with the same employment assignment through a temp agency, our client was separated from his employment. The client's employer advised LSA that our client had quit without just cause. However, our client maintained, and the Hearing Officer agreed, determining that our client's employer terminated him without cause. Our client is now eligible to receive unemployment benefits, and his disqualification period has been removed.

Congratulations to our Birmingham Office Advocates who protected the wages of Alabama's poor!

Selma Office

Congratulations to Felecia Pettway, Managing Attorney in the Selma Office, who was able to protect a client's income!

Our client was being removed from Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and was going to lose her home. LSA was able to get the time extended so that our client could remain in her home due to improper service and eviction filing. Our client was able to remain in her home for three (3) additional months while she found alternate housing.

Congratulations to our Selma Office Advocates who were able to negotiate a settlement without litigation and prevent homelessness!

What does your donation to LSA do?
Your donation helps poor, elderly and disabled victims of abuse, consumer fraud, housing discrimination and other illegal actions that our clients face everyday. Over 90% of your contribution goes directly to client services.  

Who are our Donors?
Our donors are Heroes for the low income people we serve statewide. They are students, lawyers, law firms, faith based groups, businesses and corporations, who support our mission of improving lives across Alabama. They become  Guardians of Justice because they believe  poor and vulnerable people should have access to quality, free civil legal aid statewide!

From Our Clients:
"I appreciated every step of the process, and every person I spoke with or met! I was so stressed and overwhelmed by my circumstances and feel [LSA] was a blessing! Thank you so much!"
- Client, Tuscaloosa Office

Offer Help & Hope to someone in need today!
  LSA provides free, civil legal services to Veterans in Central Alabama! 
Support LSA's Veteran Services partnership with the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System and VA Gulf Coast

LSA continues providing legal services to Veterans by providing on site services through a partnership with the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System and Department of Veterans Affairs. 

LSA offers onsite civil legal assistance for Veterans across Central Alabama at the following locations:

* Montgomery VA Medical Center on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month from
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

* Tuskegee VA on the first, third, and fifth Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

LSA now offers free civil legal assistance to Veterans across South Alabama at our Mobile office, located at 104 St. Francis Street, Suite 700 from
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the first Thursday of each Month!

 For more information about our clinics, please call: 1-866-456-4995
The Advocate is published by Communications & Community Development Coordinator, Desiree Taylor