News

Legal Help for Homeowners

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in News | Comments Off on Legal Help for Homeowners

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. launched the Legal Help for Homeowners Project in October 2012, through a grant from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office. Since that time, attorneys in the five Land of Lincoln service offices have helped nearly 400 homeowners with advice, budget counseling, assistance with loan modifications, representation in the foreclosure case, and bankruptcy. Facts: • In March 2013, Illinois had the second highest number of bank repossessions in the nation – more than 3,500 (http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/11/real_estate/foreclosures/index.html) • In 2012, Illinois saw the 5th largest increase in foreclosure filings – up 33% from the year before (http://www.inman.com/news/2013/01/18/foreclosure-filings-in-half-us-states-in-2012) • Since October 2012, the Eastern and Northern Regional offices of Land of Lincoln, which cover the counties in the local area, have assisted households who were facing foreclosure related problems with 125 different cases. • Foreclosure filings in 2012 in local counties are reported as 560 in Champaign; 77 in DeWitt; 82 in Douglas; 58 in Edgar; 62 in Ford; 307 in Macon; 38 in Moultrie; 62 in Piatt; and 327 in Vermilion. If you are a homeowner in need of assistance, please call our toll-free number at...

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Michael Fiello Receives Joseph R. Bartylak Memorial Legal Services Award

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in News | Comments Off on Michael Fiello Receives Joseph R. Bartylak Memorial Legal Services Award

At their 138th Annual Meeting on June 20, 2014, the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) awarded Michael Fiello with the Joseph R. Bartylak Memorial Legal Services Award.  Mike is the Managing Attorney for the Carbondale Office of Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation. Mike was recognized for almost three decades of service on behalf of low-income citizens and seniors.  Mike oversees legal services to more than 2,000 clients per year in 23 counties in the most southern section of Illinois.  He personally handles approximately 100 of those cases.  Mike serves on the Illinois Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission and the Dispute Resolution Institute board of directors.  Mike also offers free self-help divorce classes to pro se litigants. Mike was nominated by SIU School of Law Professor Alice M. Noble-Algire.  In her nomination she wrote, “It takes a special person to do legal services work in general, but the level of dedication that Mike has shown over his entire career is truly exceptional.” The Joseph R. Bartylak Memorial Legal Services Award is named in memory of Alton attorney, and long-time ISBA member, Joe Bartylak.  Mr. Bartylak was Land of Lincoln’s Executive Director from 1976 to 2003.  This award honors the extraordinary commitment and dedication of a civil legal services attorney who provides the highest caliber of compassionate legal representation to Illinois’ low-income...

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Veterans Legal Corps serves Illinois veterans

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in News | Comments Off on Veterans Legal Corps serves Illinois veterans

Last year, our Eastern Regional Office was granted two Equal Justice Works Veterans Legal Corps fellows to assist veterans with their legal needs. Below is an article written by the fellows originally published in the Illinois State Bar Association’s blog, Illinois Lawyer Now, for Veteran’s Day. We wanted to reprint the article here to highlight this project and the services provided to veterans. Since the article was written, more time has passed and many more veterans have been served through the project. Veterans Legal Corps serves Illinois veterans By Emily Vock and Eric Bulman, Land of Lincoln Assistance Foundation, Champaign As our nation takes time to reflect on the sacrifices of veterans and celebrate their heroism, the legal community would be remiss if they did not stop to consider what we can do to give back to the men and women who have selflessly served our country. For many veterans, access to the legal system proves to be a difficult challenge once they have returned from service. According to an annual survey by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, access to legal services is one of the top ten unmet needs for veterans. Thankfully, the challenges faced by veterans in the legal system are not going unnoticed, and a partnership between Equal Justice Works and AmeriCorps has created the Veterans Legal Corps. This group of thirty-six attorneys across the country is serving the legal needs of low-income and homeless veterans. Veterans Legal Corps members are working to reduce homelessness, improve economic security, and enhance quality of life among veterans through access to legal services. Two of these Veterans Legal Corps attorneys are working in Illinois at Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation’s Eastern Regional Office in Champaign and can be reached at 800-747-5523. Land of Lincoln serves low-income and elderly clients throughout central and southern Illinois. The Veterans Legal Corps lawyers are working with the VA Illiana Health Care System in Danville, the VA outpatient clinic in Decatur, and local Salvation Army offices to reach out to veterans throughout central Illinois who otherwise might be unaware of Land of Lincoln’s services. In just over two months since the program was launched, the Veterans Legal Corps Fellows have helped veterans gain access to public housing; obtain veterans benefits; appeal Social Security and Medicaid decisions; relieve consumer and medical debt; and address family law issues. One homeless veteran recently called Land of Lincoln, having been rejected for subsidized housing due to an old debt to a prior landlord. Three weeks after our advocacy, the client called the office from his new subsidized apartment, free from the prior debt. Serving the legal needs of veterans allows the legal community to thank our veterans for their selfless service to our nation and improve their lives at home. This November, take time to thank a veteran in whatever way you can. Whether you show your gratitude with a simple “thank you” or get involved in pro bono work focused on meeting the legal needs of veterans, our nation’s military members deserve our support. The original post can be found...

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Robert Watson receives Joseph R. Bartylak Pro Bono Award

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in News | Comments Off on Robert Watson receives Joseph R. Bartylak Pro Bono Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For More Information Contact: Joan Spiegel, Managing Attorney Date: October 25, 2013 LAND OF LINCOLN JOSEPH R. BARTYLAK PRO BONO AWARD PRESENTED TO ROBERT WATSON Attorney Robert Watson was presented with the Land of Lincoln Joseph R. Bartylak Pro Bono Award on October 22, 2013 by Western Regional Office Managing Attorney Joan Spiegel. Mr. Watson received his award at the 3rd Circuit Pro Bono Luncheon in Edwardsville. Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier was the guest speaker at this event. Over 140 attorneys were honored for their pro bono service. Mr. Robert Watson accepts pro bono cases referred by Land of Lincoln, and he also does pro bono work through his solo law practice in Brighton, Illinois. He has been a member of the Land of Lincoln Pro Bono Program for 10 years. Watson is the longest serving member of the current Board of Trustees of Lewis and Clark Community College, having served as a Trustee since 1977. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board. “Bob has never turned down a pro bono case referral. He is always willing to accept cases that we refer,” states Joan Spiegel, Managing Attorney. “His services are essential to clients in our rural communities where, because there are a limited number of attorneys, it is more difficult to find pro bono volunteers.” The Land of Lincoln Joseph R. Bartylak Pro Bono Awards were created in 2011 in memory of Joseph R. Bartylak, who was Land of Lincoln’s Executive Director from 1976 to 2003. The Board of Directors of Land of Lincoln created these awards to honor a volunteer attorney from each of its five regions who has directly achieved outstanding results for our clients or who has supported Land of Lincoln staff in their delivery of high quality legal...

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Illinois Fifth Judicial Circuit Honors Attorneys at Pro Bono Week Celebration

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in News | Comments Off on Illinois Fifth Judicial Circuit Honors Attorneys at Pro Bono Week Celebration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For More Information Contact: Ramona Sullivan, Senior Attorney Date: October 25, 2013 FIFTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT HONORS ATTORNEYS AT PRO BONO WEEK CELEBRATION The Second Annual Fifth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Week Celebration was held October 21, 2013 at the Danville Country Club. Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice-Elect Rita Garman was the speaker for the event. Judges and lawyers from throughout the Fifth Circuit attended the celebration, and awards were presented. Attorney Fred Underhill was presented with the Land of Lincoln Joseph R. Bartylak Pro Bono Award. The award was presented by Ramona Sullivan, Senior Attorney in the Eastern Regional Office in Champaign. Mr. Underhill is a long-time volunteer for Land of Lincoln through the Vermilion County Bar Association. He has handled over thirty pro bono legal matters over the years, including helping six different individuals over the past three years. He has assisted clients with a variety of family law matters, home ownership issues, and advance directives. Attorney Richard Kash received the Fifth Circuit Pro Bono Award. The award was also presented by Ramona Sullivan on behalf of the Fifth Circuit Pro Bono Committee. Other attorneys recognized for their service were: Joseph Schroeder for Clark County; Kaye Dent for Edgar County; Jenny Koebele for Cumberland County; Karen Fuqua for Coles County; and Fred Underhill for Vermilion County. “There aren’t nearly enough legal aid attorneys to offer representation or even advice to all of the people who cannot afford to hire attorneys,” states Ramona Sullivan. “We always need the help of the private bar in our pro bono programs. Fortunately in the Fifth Judicial Circuit, the private bar is actively involved in the mission to provide access to justice. Tonight’s award winners are wonderful, long-time volunteers who go out of their way to make a difference in our communities.” The Land of Lincoln Joseph R. Bartylak Pro Bono Awards were created in 2011 in memory of Joseph R. Bartylak, who was Land of Lincoln’s Executive Director from 1976 to 2003. The Board of Directors of Land of Lincoln created these awards to honor a volunteer attorney or judge from each of its five regions who has directly achieved outstanding results for our clients or who has supported Land of Lincoln staff in their delivery of high quality legal...

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Champaign County Bar Association and Land of Lincoln Present Pro Bono Award to Bruno Law Offices

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in News | Comments Off on Champaign County Bar Association and Land of Lincoln Present Pro Bono Award to Bruno Law Offices

The Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for 2012, selected by Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance and the Champaign County Bar Association, is Bruno Law Offices of Urbana. Ramona Sullivan, the Pro Bono Coordinator of Land of Lincoln and a member of the CCBA Board of Governors, presented the award at the CCBA Law Day Banquet on May 1, 2013. Thomas Bruno and his sons, Anthony Bruno and Evan Bruno, were recognized for their outstanding delivery of pro bono legal services in...

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