The Advocate
September 2018
    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!
Our Donors are Heroes to low income individuals, vulnerable Veterans, and elderly clients statewide!
Attorney Spotlight: Leigh Haynie,
Staff Attorney, Montgomery Office
Why have you chosen to advocate on behalf of poor people? 
I was raised by my parents, but my grandparents played a big role in my life. Three of my grandparents had a high school degree, and one had to drop out in 6 th grade to make money for the family. I adored them and marveled at their work ethic. These were not grandparents who sat around baking cookies and playing games. When I visited my paternal grandparents, they took me to work with them at the muffler shop they ran. I spent days watching them fix cars. My other grandparents tag-teamed throughout the day as one worked first shift and the other worked second shift. All had a strong distrust of wealthy people and were wary of anyone who was too flashy. They very much expected their children and grandchildren to stand up for those who could not stand up for themselves, either because of mental challenges or because of the lack of money. I am pretty sure all of them would haunt me if I tried to do any kind of law that hurt low-income people.

What is your most memorable experience (at LSA)? 
I tend to remember the cases I lose because I hurt for the challenges I know that will face my client as a result of a bad judgment. The first few months I worked here representing housing clients, I spent a good bit of my time crying in the car on the way back from court. I don’t cry as much, but I constantly challenge myself to get a good outcome for the client – one that will make his or her life better, not necessarily mine.
Probably my happiest experience was being able to sue Montgomery Water Works over an illegal charge on my elderly client’s account. The Company was trying to wring money out of my client for something a child of hers had done decades before. There is nothing more gratifying than suing a bad actor. The client had the charge erased and was able to live in peace.

What advice can you give attorneys thinking about joining LSA?
You are going to have to find a way to de-compress and compartmentalize. Our clients are dealing with hard times and hard issues. People have sat with me in my office or their residence and shared with me dark circumstances they won’t share with anyone else. I had one gentleman, who was a victim of domestic violence, weep as he told me he could not share what was going on in his marriage with his fellow church members because they would kick him out of the church for getting a divorce. He was so alone and isolated and felt condemned. I have to fight the urge to turn to alcohol to deal with the stories our clients share. I have had to find healthy ways to spend my time out of work, which for me is singing in the choir and making sure I exercise every day. Everybody needs to find a healthy way to work out the darkness we see in the justice system and our clients’ lives.

What do you like to do in your spare time?    
Read. I am a bookworm. I always have a book that I am reading. My favorite authors are too many to list, but a beginning of that list is: Marilynne Robinson, Michael Malone, Walker Percy, P.G. Wodehouse, Georgette Heyer, and Cormac McCarthy. I am always looking for suggestions for books and authors.

* Leigh Haynie joined LSA in August 2011. She has 13 years of experience working for various nonprofits in Minnesota, Louisiana, and Alabama. She has appeared before the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Appellate courts, as well as federal district courts from Marquette, Michigan to Lafayette, Louisiana and areas in between. A graduate of The University of Alabama School of Law (1997), she has clerked for the Honorable Glen E. Thompson, a Circuit Judge for Morgan County, Alabama. Having also taught English in Louisiana for two years, Leigh also received a bachelor's from Birmingham-Southern College (1992). Haynie currently serves as Staff Attorney in the Montgomery Office.
Client Success Stories :
Montgomery Office
Peyton Faulk, Staff Attorney in the Montgomery Office, helped to protect a client's income!
Our Advocate negotiated with Plaintiff's attorney regarding her ability to pay. Our Advocate sent the client's income and situational information about our client to the plaintiff. After discussions, the party agreed to simply dismiss the case due to our client's inability to pay. Essentially, it was not worth their time. The Plaintiff filed a voluntary motion to dismiss, and our Advocate appeared at the Hearing where the Judge dismissed the case. The Initial demand was for a judgment of $9,851.79.
Thank you to our Montgomery Office Advocates for protecting the income of a vulnerable client!
Tuscaloosa Office
Congratulations to Ricky Chambless, Staff Attorney in the Tuscaloosa Office, who helped a Veteran get out of substandard housing!

Our client came to LSA, seeking help to get out of lease when the apartment he was given was not what he had been promised. The client's Landlord had apparently shown Housing Authority Inspectors a different unit than the one given to client. After moving in and discovering numerous maintenance issues, including mold & mildew and bad appliances, our client contacted the Housing Authority for a new inspection. After a new inspection, the Landlord failed to make repairs, and gave client a 60-day lease termination notice. When contacted by both the Housing Authority and LSA Advocates, the Landlord agreed no rent above tenants' portion would be charged. Our client was unable to locate any other available Section 8 units until the 60 days had expired. When contacted by the potential new Landlord, the current Landlord stated that the client was pending an eviction action for non-payment of rent. Based on that report, our client's application was denied. The Landlord then filed a UD Action. Our Tuscaloosa Advocate filed an Answer & Counterclaim for the client. The Landlord had not informed their legal counsel about the Housing Authority Inspection and the subsequent report to other landlords. While the case was pending, the Tuscaloosa VA was able to get our client approved for a HUD VASH voucher, and secured him an apartment in the new Valor Grove Apartments for military veterans. Our Advocate was able to negotiate agreement to jointly dismiss all claims upon our client's move. After our client moved, a joint motion was filed, and the Court entered an Order dismissing all claims with prejudice.
Thank you to our Tuscaloosa Office Advocates for helping to prevent homelessness for a Veteran!

Dothan Office
Congratulations to Rachelle Greczyn, Staff Attorney in the Dothan Office, who helped a client to obtain housing repairs and obtain monetary recovery!

After trying to get his Landlord to fix his hot water heater since November 2017, our client resorted to calling the city police and filing the Landlord on his phone. The slumlord felt "threatened" by our client doing this so the Landlord refused to fix the hot water heater or make repairs needed to have the house with access to water unless LSA or a sheriff was present. Our Advocate filed for injunctive relief in Circuit Court after attempts to reason with the Landlord went nowhere. The judge granted the injunction, and the Landlord afterward replaced our client's hot water heater. At a hearing, the Landlord maintained that he couldn't do the repairs because he felt too "threatened" and "harassed." The Judge granted two (2) months rent plus court costs to our client. The client continues to live on the property.
Thank you to our Dothan Office Advocates for helping our client to have a decent place to live!
LSA Statewide Conference
September 18 - 20
Embassy Suites, Montgomery

The Honorable Myron H. Thompson discusses a judge's point of view from the Bench
LSA Interim Executive Director Guy Lescault (left) presents conference speaker Father Fred Kramer, Director of Jesuit Social Research Institute, with a certificate of appreciation.
Jaffe Pickett, LSA Deputy Director, served as moderator for a CLE panel discussion on "How to Represent Low-Income Individuals."
From L-R: Glory McLaughlin, Assistant Dean for Public Interest, University of Alabama School of Law; Aylia McKee, Chief Public Defender (Montgomery County); and Larry Gardella, LSA Volunteer Attorney, serve as panelists during conference webinar "How to Represent Low Income Individuals."
Debra Hansen (right), LSA Director of Operations, presents Azzie Melton Taylor (left), Assistant Attorney General, with a certificate of appreciation.
David A. Webster, Legal Aid Atlanta, serves as a panelist.
LSA Lead Consumer Attorney Farah Majid and Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Lyn Stuart discuss the appeals process.
Private Attorney Karen Laneaux discusses legal ethics for Administrative personnel.
Birmingham Managing Attorney Barbara Luckett and Attorney Diandra Debrosse Zimmermann discuss bench and jury trials.
Maynard Cooper & Gale shareholder and LSA Board of Directors member Edward "Ted" A. Hosp, Esq. discusses achieving access to justice under the law.
NAACP-LDF Attorney Larry Menefee serves as a panelist.
Bryan Fair, Professor, University of Alabama School of Law; and Selma Managing Attorney Felecia Pettway serve as panelists during a conference webinar.
Members of Alabama Possible lead a Poverty Simulation for LSA Advocates and Support Staff.
Immediate Past LSA Board Chair LaVeeda Morgan-Battle, Esq., presents former American Bar Association President and longtime supporter of LSA
Tommy H. Wells Jr., with an award in his honor for his advocacy during the LSA Awards Banquet.
LSA Board of Directors member Bill Broome, Esq., presents longtime LSA supporter Sue McInnish of the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation with an award for her service during the Awards Banquet.
LSA Awards Banquet
LSA appreciates the dedication of our Advocates and Support Staff
5 Years Service Award
10 Years Service Award
15 Years Service Award
20 Years Service Award
25 Years Service Award
30 Years Service Award
35 Years Service Award
40 Years Service Award

"There is nothing that I disliked about your services. I liked how good [the advocates] treated me!"
-Client, Tuscaloosa Office

Your generous support provides
Help & Hope to those in need!

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!

DONATE and become a Guardian of Justice today!

LSA provides free, civil legal services to Veterans in Central and South Alabama!

In Central Alabama
Every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the following locations:
VA Montgomery - 215 Perry Hill Road (Every 2nd & 4th Wednesday)
VA Center Tuskegee - 2400 Hospital Road (Every 1st, 3rd, & 5th Wednesday)

In South Alabama
Every 1st Thursday of the Month
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
104 St. Francis Street, Suite 700
Mobile, AL 36602
Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia,
Monroe, Washington and Mobile Counties

Services offered include:
Help with past IRS debt/Alabama state tax issues
Domestic Violence Divorces/Protection from Abuse Orders
Wage Garnishment
Foreclosure Prevention/Tenant Evictions
Public Benefits
Wills/Living Wills/Powers-of-Attorney
Driver's License Reinstatements
Payday Loans/Predatory Lending
The Advocate is published monthly by Communications & Community Development Coordinator, Desiree Taylor