Most people think of summer as a time for picnics, pools, and popsicles. For some of our dedicated volunteers, however, summertime meant pro bono time!
LCBH paired up with two different law firms over the summer to create pro bono opportunities for summer associate law students. Summer associates from Brinks Gilson & Lione and Jones Day worked with senior associates and partners within their firms to handle cases screened and supervised by an LCBH staff attorney. Each summer associate was able to work directly with clients to help resolve difficult housing situations through negotiation, motion writing, and their first court appearances.
We’d like to share one story that had a particularly wonderful outcome. A team of pro bono attorneys from Brinks Gilson & Lione represented June and her five children in an eviction court case. June and her family had lived in their apartment building, subsidized by the Chicago Housing Authority, for several years. The family had never had any serious problems with management, and June liked the apartment’s proximity to her children’s school. However, in the early summer everything changed when June received an eviction notice from her landlord. The notice accused June of (1) allowing a friend to stay overnight in the apartment for three days, (2) propping open the back door of the building, and (3) damaging the gate to the building.
Not sure where to turn, June came to LCBH. For June, even worse than losing her home would be the loss of her housing subsidy. June was just able to make ends meet with her income of $800 a month. Without her subsidized apartment, she and her children would never be able to afford market rent and would almost certainly become homeless. Fortunately for June, she had LCBH and Brinks Gilson & Lione on her side.
Dan Parrish, a summer associate with Brinks Gilson & Lione, filed a motion to have the case thrown out because June had already fixed all of the alleged lease violations. The friend had long moved out. The back door was closed. The landlord couldn’t provide any proof that the front gate had actually been damaged. Dan was able to convince the judge to throw out two of the claims against June. With the help of two associates, Dan got right to work preparing to go to trial on the remaining issue.
It turned out he didn’t need to. During depositions, the plaintiff finally caved and agreed to settle the case. June and her family were allowed to stay in the apartment. The plaintiff dismissed the case against them. The eviction case was sealed, so June wouldn’t have to worry about it showing up on her record or impacting her credit. That’s quite a feat for a second year law student!