In the News

PRESS RELEASE: “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” Announces Full-Time Legal Fellowship Serving Summit County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Park City, Utah (September 23, 2015) “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” (AJFA), the Utah nonprofit uniting the state’s primary providers of civil legal aid – Disability Law Center, Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake, and Utah Legal Services – is very pleased to announce that it has secured $10,000 in  funding for Park City’s first full-time legal fellow dedicated to providing free civil legal aid to the poor and victims of domestic violence in Park City. AJFA’s Legal Fellowship Program was launched to simultaneously address two very pressing issues in Utah. First, it helps to address the ‘Justice Gap,’ in which a majority (80%) of low-income Utahns do not have access to an attorney when they most need one, though 67.5% of them will experience a civil legal dispute in any given year.  Second, too many young lawyers are un-or under-employed and need professional legal experience to jump-start their careers. Under supervision of a seasoned Utah Legal Services attorney, the Park City Fellow will not only manage the entire protective order calendar for domestic violence victims, but will also work to bolster relationships with Summit County attorneys to promote greater pro-bono involvement and conduct outreach to promote greater awareness about the legal resources available to Summit County low-income populations. A recent national think tank found representation by an attorney in protective order cases to be the best way to prevent domestic violence, while also saving states millions in the process.  In addition to domestic violence issues, it is anticipated that the Fellow will provide free legal services in other legal areas as well, including landlord tenant disputes and immigration issues. The AJFA Park City Fellowship is possible through the generous collaborative effort of the Park City Bar Association, Park City Foundation, Nutraceutical Corporation, the Park City Rotary Foundation and the law firm of Wrona Gordon & DuBois.  The Law Firm of Dodd & Kuendig has generously donated the in-kind desk space to house the Fellow. Scott DuBois, an AJFA Leadership Committee Member and member of the Board of Directors for the Park City Bar Association, helped lead the fundraising effort.  Mr. DuBois […]

PRESS RELEASE: Utah Legal Services Wants You To Learn How to Defend Yourself Against Unjust Eviction

Salt Lake City, Utah (September 2, 2015): A new lecture series is beginning in September at the Downtown Salt Lake City Public Library to arm tenants with the knowledge and skills to defend themselves against their landlords. This new lecture series, organized by “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” partner agency Utah Legal Services (ULS), will aim to provide tenants with the knowledge to avoid eviction and its high associated costs, how to improve the quality of your rental, how to improve your rental living conditions, and how to ensure that your landlord makes repairs, among other topics. Controversial landlord practices can range from improper water shutoffs, delayed rental improvements, and the refusal to meet disability needs, among others. Take, for instance, the case of Mary, 38, a single mother diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and her 8-year old daughter diagnosed with neurofibromatosis faced with the looming threat of homelessness when the Housing Authority took away the families Section Eight Housing funding. Mary was forced to give nearly all of her possessions and asked her 16-year old son to live with his father to save him from the impending shame of homelessness. Utah Legal Services was notified of the case when Mary and her daughter were “literally a week away from going into a shelter.” Mary’s Section Eight Housing funding was taken away after she moved to a handicap accessible apartment with her landlord’s approval. The Housing Authority did not authorize the move and terminated her housing funds. ULS filed a third-party lawsuit against the Housing Authority, as well as a counter-suit against the landlord to ensure that Mary was not forced to pay the $10,000 in past due rent. (The full story was covered by the Standard-Examiner here.) In Utah, treble damages — a statute that permits a court to triple the amount of compensation — on a $1,000 dispute plus attorney fees can result in the tenant owing upwards of $5,000.  This debt is garnishable, which means debt collectors could take payments directly from the tenant’s wages before the tenant receives them. The combination of treble damages, attorney fees, and wage garnishing often results in […]

Report: Legal help cuts incidence of domestic violence, saves money

(This is a repost of an original Deseret News article published on August 14, 2015 by Marjorie Cortez) SALT LAKE CITY — Free or low-cost legal services for people seeking protective orders would reduce incidence of domestic violence and lower associated societal costs, a new report states. The Institute for Policy Integrity report found that victims are more likely to receive protective orders if they have legal representation. The report, “Supporting Survivors: The Economic Benefits of Providing Civil Legal Aid to Survivors of Domestic Violence,” also found that the availability of civil legal aid may be “even more effective than alternative interventions such as the provision of shelters and counseling services.” Stewart Ralphs, executive director of Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake, said the report confirms family law attorneys’ long-held perceptions that protective orders curb domestic violence and enhance safety. “We have intuitively known this for decades, and it’s heartening to see that studies confirm our belief that access to a free lawyer for victims of domestic violence truly does reduce domestic violence in our community,” Ralphs said. Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake is a nonprofit civil legal aid agency that helps child and adult victims of domestic violence obtain protective orders and stalking injunctions for free regardless of income. While it does not have the resources to track clients long-term, Ralphs said the agency contacts clients one year after a court has granted them a protective order. Ninety-one percent report there has been no further abuse and 95 percent report feeling safer. Meanwhile, 69 percent of clients reported that their household incomes had remained stable or increased. Legal Aid Society and partner agency Utah Legal Services, a nonprofit law office that performs a variety of civil legal services for people with low incomes, helped 3,687 individuals and 9,068 dependents escape abuse in Salt Lake City in 2014. While the law offices’ primary role is to provide legal advice and represent clients in court, the agencies are also a “gateway” to other agencies that provide services that can help families experiencing interpersonal violence. “It’s extremely rare when a victim of domestic […]

PRESS RELEASE: Funding Free Lawyers Prevents Domestic Violence and Saves State Money

Salt Lake City, Utah (August 8, 2015) National non-partisan think tank “The Institute for Policy Integrity” has found an easy solution to prevent domestic violence: give people free lawyers, the Huffington Post notes in an article published on July 21st. Domestic violence is an issue estimated to affect 1 in 4 women in the U.S. during their lifetime, incurring not only physical and mental harm but also high legal fees and severe social costs that affect the individual, their family and their community, the think tank found. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, when accounted for these multifactorial costs, the price of domestic violence total around an estimated $9 billion, including $727.8 million in lost productivity each year. Alarmingly, domestic violence in Utah is much worse than the national average, with one in three women believed to experience domestic violence at some point in their lives (Standard Examiner, June 25, 2015). Domestic violence-related homicide in Utah is among the highest in the nation (43% of all homicides are domestic in nature, topping the 30% national average). And it’s getting worse. According to Julee Smith, the executive director at Your Community Connection, last year’s homicide number was up 59 percent; the number of victims who are housed in private shelters shot up by 41% in the past five years, according to Jenn Oxborrow, Utah Department of Human Services domestic violence program administrator. Even in 2001, the rate of domestic violence in Utah was 23% higher than the national average. So what is the best way to save lives, save families and children from traumatic abuse, and save the state money? Free or subsidized lawyers, according to “The Institute for Policy Integrity” and their national study “Supporting Survivors: The Economic Benefits of Providing Civil Legal Aid to Survivors of Domestic Violence.” “Studies have shown that the availability of civil legal aid can be effective in reducing rates of violence, and even more effective than alternative interventions such as the provision of shelters or counseling services. Increased funding to enhance the availability of civil legal services to low-income families can […]

It’s puppies vs. Girl Scouts in annual 24-hour cutthroat charity competition

(This is a repost of an original Salt Lake Tribune article published on March 25, 2015 by Amy McDonald) The online campaign Love Utah Give Utah hopes to raise $2 million for 500 charities Thursday­­ — twice what it raised last year. The way it works is simple: Utahns can visit, explore options from animal shelters to breast-cancer research, find causes they like, contribute and then share their gifts on social media. The idea is to encourage others to donate for the 24-hour period as well. “It’s a fun way to engage people in the community, including people who already support us as well as people who haven’t supported us before,” said Kai Wilson, director of And Justice for All, a legal-aid nonprofit seeking donations. The effort — branded Love UT Give UT — also has a unique aspect: It’s a competition. In four categories, based on budget size, organizations compete for prize money awarded to whoever gets the most unique donors. That means if a small nonprofit gets 400 donations of $10 but also gets the most unique donors in its category, its $4,000 becomes $14,000 with the $10,000 prize. Squeezing the flow of donations, the interaction on social media and the competition all into 24 hours is what makes it fun, said Blair Hodson, director of the Community Foundation of Utah and Love Utah Give Utah. “It’s an opportunity,” Hodson said, “for every single person in Utah that is positively affected by work done in the nonprofit sector and the education sector, in a very fun way, to participate in philanthropy.” Last year, And Justice for All placed fourth overall in the event, which included about 460 other organizations. More than half its donors were attorneys, he said. “I was pretty happy that lawyers were somewhat able to keep up with puppies and Girl Scouts,” he said. And Justice for All teams up with legal-aid organizations to provide lawyers and legal help to those who can’t afford it. Kristine Ramsey had been in an abusive relationship for 25 years when a victim’s advocate connected her with And Justice for All. With […]

‘And Justice for All’ extends its reach with inaugural legal fellowship

(This article is a repost of a Deseret News article published by Marjorie Cortez on June 23, 2014) SALT LAKE CITY — If there’s such a thing as a win-win-win, a Utah nonprofit organization’s legal fellowship program may be the textbook example. “And Justice for All,” a Utah nonprofit organization that supports three legal service agencies and provides grants to five others, has launched a legal fellowship program thanks to a $10,000 grant from CIT Bank. Mary Anne Davies, a recent graduate of Loyola Law School, has joined the Disability Law Center as the first “And Justice for All” legal fellow. The center is a protection and advocacy organization for people with disabilities. As a fellow, Davies joins a staff of about 30 in assisting people with disabilities who have experienced discrimination at work, school or in the community. The agency also advocates for people who are abused or neglected in institutional settings or in the community. Prior to law school, Davies earned an undergraduate degree in political science, a master’s in public administration from the University of Utah and worked as community impact director for United Way of Salt Lake. Loyola Law School, part of Loyola Marymount University, is deeply rooted in Jesuit and Marymount traditions, encouraging students to develop their talents and gifts for the service of others. Davies’ education and professional experience — and recent return to Utah for her husband’s employment — made the fellowship a perfect fit. “It’s really interesting work and really rewarding to know you’re helping people,” she said. “There’s so many people who need access to the justice system, and there’s so little resources. It’s great to be part of an organization that helps provide that access.” Adina Zahradnikova, executive director of the Disability Law Center, said the paid fellowship also enables Davies to learn from mentors such as longtime attorneys and advocates. “Mary Anne is an outstanding advocate who is passionate about social justice issues and meeting the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens. Mary Anne’s passion and skills are clearly aligned with the values and the mission of the Disability Law […]

PRESS RELEASE: AJFA Launches Legal Fellowship Program with First DLC Fellow Davies

Salt Lake City, Utah (June 18, 2014) “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL (AJFA), the umbrella organization that unites and supports the primary civil legal service agencies in Utah, is proud to announce the launching of its Legal Fellowship Program. Mary Anne Davies, a recent graduate of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, has joined the Disability Law Center as AJFA’s first Legal Fellow. The Legal Fellowship Program has been made possible in large part by a generous $10,000 grant from CIT Bank. AJFA’s Legal Fellowship Program exists to simultaneously address two very pressing issues in Utah. First, it helps to address the ‘Justice Gap,’ in which a majority of low-income Utahns does not have access to an attorney when they most need one. Over 80 percent of very poor Utahns who need help resolving their civil legal problems do not get the legal help they need. AJFA Fellows will work to ensure justice for some of Utah’s most disadvantaged inhabitants. Second, the Fellowship Program helps young lawyers gain invaluable experience as they enter the competitive legal job market. An American Bar Association study found that only 56 percent of 2012 law graduates had stable, full-time work in the law nine months after graduating. Even graduates who did everything right, finished at the top of their classes, graduated with honors, and held prestigious internships, find themselves in this position. AJFA’s new Fellow, Mary Anne, was one of many recent law school graduates struggling to find legal work and gain experience. While the few positions available to recent law graduates are often unpaid or very underpaid, AJFA Fellows will receive a monthly stipend, as well as a $4,000 grant upon completion of the six-month program. The experience AJFA Fellows gain will help them as they move toward their future goals within the legal profession, while simultaneously helping Utahns in need. Originally from Salt Lake City, Mary Anne received an MA in Public Administration from the University of Utah before going to law school in L.A. She has family in Utah, and loves all this state has to offer. She acknowledges that both here […]

PRESS RELEASE: Legal Aid Nonprofit “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” Announces 32nd Annual Law Day Run

Salt Lake City, Utah (April 18, 2014) “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” (AJFA), the umbrella organization uniting Utah’s civil legal aid agencies, is excited to announce the 32nd annual Law Day 5k Run and Walk to be held May 17th, 2014 at the SJ Quinney College of Law. More than 1,000 runners will participate, raising money for free civil legal aid for individuals and families struggling with abuse, disability, discrimination and poverty. As part of AFJA’s mission to ensure everyone has a voice, this year’s race will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. All of the proceeds from the race go to provide free civil legal aid. Last year’s race generated $47,140, which in addition to the annual campaigns the “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” runs and the work of the partner agencies saved Utah’s courts (and thus the taxpayers) more than $1.8 million in 2013. Before the race the “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” will be honoring the service of Judge Anthony Quinn who was tragically killed in biking accident last year. His wife will serve as the honorary race starter. The run itself is an official USA Track Field and Field certified course winding through the scenic University of Utah campus.  Sports-Am will provide timing chips for runners competing in a variety of divisions including gender, age, stroller, and wheelchair. The entire family can enjoy the race, and everyone receives a prize. Registration information can be found here: Runners may download the registration form and mail it to the Utah State Bar, register online, or register the same day of the race from 7:00-7:45am. Early registration deadline is on May 1, 2014. The race will begin at 8:00am. Parking will be available at Rice Eccles Stadium (451 S. 1400 E.). The major sponsors for this year’s race are: CIT Bank, Energy Solutions, the Utah State Bar, SJ Quinney School of Law, Workers Compensation Fund, Berkeley Research Group, Jet Blue Airways, Rocky Mountain Advisory, Sage Forensic Accounting, US Bank, Lexis Nexis, Salt Lake Legal, and Merrill Lynch. For more information and interviews please contact […]

PRESS RELEASE: #JusticeUnselfie Campaign to Help Raise Awareness for Legal Aid Nonprofit ‘AND JUSTICE FOR ALL’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Salt Lake City, Utah (Jan. 9, 2014) #JusticeUnselfie is a campaign designed to raise awareness for legal aid nonprofit “and Justice for all” (AJFA) through social media engagement. For every #JusticeUnselfie posted before January 15th, $5 will be donated to and Justice for all by a group of four matching donors. ‘“and Justice for all” can only help one out of every three people who seek us out. The #JusticeUnselfie campaign is a first, critical step in bridging this justice gap and righting this wrong,” Development Director Kseniya Kniazeva said. “AJFA supporters will ponder what justice means to them—because justice is meaningful in many different ways—write a sentence stating why they support justice, take a selfie displaying their sentence, like “and Justice for all” on Facebook or follow @Justice_4_UT on Twitter and share their #JusticeUnselfies with us and their friends. It’s an easy way to educate, raise awareness about and raise resources for an organization that improves access to justice to the poorest and most marginalized Utahns. Even Mayor Ben McAdams posted one earlier last month!” “Our goal is to engage the community and to encourage everyone to reflect on the important ideals of justice,” Kniazeva said. “From a new website that seamlessly integrates social media tools, to rich and active social media pages, to enhanced digital communications, to our holiday Twitter campaign involving MLB star Dexter Fowler, AJFA is reaching out to the community in new and innovative ways. We hope this will attract partners who may have never heard of “and Justice for all” or who may have not known how much we do for our communities, as well as allow us to better communicate our message to current supporters.” “and Justice for all” is the resource-sharing umbrella organization for Utah’s primary civil legal aid agencies: Disability Law Center, Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake, and Utah Legal Services.  It is the first project of its kind in the country to co-locate the major civil legal service providers in an effort to simplify access for clients and create efficiencies for service providers. By uniting together, the legal […]

Why you should follow Astros’ Dexter Fowler on Twitter

If you don’t already follow Dexter Fowler on Twitter, hopefully this will encourage you to do so.

Fowler, an outfielder acquired from the Colorado Rockies earlier this month, is trying to raise money for AND JUSTICE FOR ALL (AJFA) and to help expand civil legal aid across Utah where he and his wife, Aliya, live during the offseason. As you can see below, his campaign started Friday and runs until Christmas.