Posts by LandofLincoln

LOLLAF Celebrates Executive Director’s 40th Anniversary

Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 in News | Comments Off on LOLLAF Celebrates Executive Director’s 40th Anniversary

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation recently honored its Executive Director, Lois Wood, for 40 years of service.  Ms. Wood began her distinguished career with Land of Lincoln on August 9, 1974 upon graduating cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she had been President of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. Ms. Wood began her career with Land of Lincoln as a staff attorney working on consumer, public utility rate making and public housing issues in the East St. Louis office.  She became managing attorney of the East St. Louis office in 1978 and from 1986 to 1996 she also represented financially distressed farmers in the Family Farm Law Project.  In 2004, the Land of Lincoln Board of Directors promoted her to Executive Director. At the celebration of her 40 years of service, Ms. Wood said that it has been her honor and privilege to have been able to spend her career promoting access to the civil justice system for low-income and disadvantaged residents of central and southern Illinois. She said she knew she wanted to work in legal aid after she met with her first client at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau during her second year in law school. She acknowledged the support she has received over the years from members of the legal community, and thanked the staff of Land of Lincoln for “being like a family.” Ms. Wood has been actively involved in local and state bar associations, holding many leadership positions. She has also received many awards and honors throughout the years.  In 1994, she received the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois Attorney Recognition Award.  In 2002, she received the Chief Judge Richard A. Hudlin IV Memorial Award from the St. Clair County Bar Association.  This award is in memory of the first African-American Chief Judge in southern Illinois and is presented annually for community service and professionalism.  In his nomination letter to the St. Clair County Bar Association, Russell K. Scott wrote:  “Lois Wood epitomizes the best our profession has to offer.  Her many years of selfless service to the less fortunate throughout Central and Southern Illinois is a testament to both her character and her abilities.” In 2003 Lois received the Kutak-Dodds Prize presented by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association and the Robert J. Kutak Foundation.  This cash award of $10,000 is presented annually to a civil legal services attorney for advocacy on behalf of the poor.  In 2006 Lois received the Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers, Illinois State Bar Association.  This is presented annually to lawyers who exemplify the highest ideals of the profession.  In 2010, the St. Louis University School of Law Public Interest Law Group presented Lois with the Clarence Darrow Public Interest Law...

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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 ( • In 2012, Illinois saw the 5th largest increase in foreclosure filings – up 33% from the year before ( • 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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