LACLJ Awarded Sargent Shriver Grant
LACLJ is proud to announce that it has been selected by the Judicial Council of California as one of seven legal services organizations statewide awarded a Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act grant to lead pilot projects to provide legal representation and develop improved court procedures for eligible low-income litigants’ civil cases affecting basic human needs.

LACLJ’s pilot project, known as Legal Access to Education and Representation (“LA/ER” or “LAYER”), received $850,000 for the first year of a three year grant, the largest grant of any family law project in the state. The Project is a partnership with the Family Law Departments of the Los Angeles Superior Court at Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Levitt and Quinn Family Law Center and Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

LACLJ designed this project because family law is severely under-resourced yet has the greatest in demand in legal services amongst the poor in California. There are approximately 24,000 new family law filings at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles each year in which one or both parties are proceeding without representation. This project will provide legal representation, specialized mediation and support services to litigants in high-conflict custody cases involving allegations of domestic violence at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. The project will also provide specialized training for judicial officers, mediators and parents, create specialized high-conflict custody calendars, provide greater access to legal services for litigants with limited English proficiency, and allow participating litigants to access social work case management services.

This funding comes through the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act (California AB590) and is scheduled to launch on October 1, 2011. If you would like to be involved and support this project, please contact Hellen Hong at

Cy Pres Award from Chavez And Gertler
LACLJ recently received a cy pres award in the matter of Scherer v. Duke Energy (Wood Group) Settlement. We express our deep gratitude to Jonathan E. Gertler of Chavez and Gertler LLP for directing these funds to LACLJ.

Cy pres funds are derived when class action funds are unallocated, unclaimed or undeliverable. The court may distribute those funds to nonprofit legal organizations through the doctrine of cy pres (from the French meaning “as near as possible”). In 2001, the California legislature clarified that unpaid funds in class actions shall be subject to cy pres distribution to nonprofit organizations providing civil legal services to the indigent. In fact, many federal courts have concluded that legal organizations and law schools are the “next best” alternative for receipt of unclaimed settlement funds.

At LACLJ, we focus on providing direct legal services to the indigent, as defined by the State Bar of California. We are involved in policy and impact work, but any cy pres funds will be used to provide legal representation to low-income families immediately. LACLJ provides high level, client focused services. Ninety-two percent of our funds are used for direct program services. We perform all of our client intake interviews in person, not over the phone. We pride ourselves on providing high quality legal services for the most disenfranchised: very low income, immigrants, survivors of violence, youth, and the disabled.

If you would like more information on how to direct cy pres funds to LACLJ, contact Hellen Hong at

Congratulations! – On the marriage of board member Heather Skinazi and Jason Axe who generously celebrated their nuptials with gifts directed to LACLJ.

Welcome! – To our summer law clerks and volunteers: Natalia Carvajal, Sofia Ferrandiz, Michelle Larios, Danielle Nottea, and Princess Manuel, Angelica Merida, and Marvin Padilla.

Pictured below: Law clerks and staff from the 2011 Public Interest Bowl-a-thon.

Congratulations! – To Suma Mathai, LACLJ’s Supervising Family Law Attorney, who received the USC Law Public Interest Law Foundation Attorney of the Year Award on April 20, 2011. Pictured below with USC School of Law Dean Robert K. Rasmussen.