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AJFA salutes Dart, Adamson & Donovan

AND JUSTICE FOR ALL salutes Dart, Adamson & Donovan for its remarkable support of Utah’s civil legal aid programs. The attorneys in the DA&D Family Law Section have been steadfast supporters of the services provided by the AND JUSTICE FOR ALL partners. From their annual support of the AJFA Campaign as a firm and individually to their commitment to volunteering on legal aid organization Boards and taking pro bono cases, DA&D attorneys touch the lives of not only their paying clients, but of disadvantaged Utahns throughout the year. Sharon Donovan remarked, “we know how our support of AND JUSTICE FOR ALL allows its partner organizations (Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake, Utah Legal Services and Disability Law Center) to continue to provide quality legal services to low-income individuals. We believe that giving back to our legal community is a civic and ethical responsibility that has long been a high priority for our firm.”

Thank You Kirton McConkie

Kirton McConkie is an invaluable supporter of AJFA’s Annual Firm Campaign. Not only have they been recognized as a top law firm in Utah, but their individual attorneys have been recognized time and time again for their expertise in multiple areas of the law. This includes multiple awards for their pro bono work in each of their respective fields. In 2013, Analise Wilson, Associate, won the Young Lawyer Pro Bono Publico Award. This was awarded to her for her work with a 90-year old widow. Analise helped keep her in her home when her stepsons used her home as collateral on a loan without her knowledge. The support of Utah’s legal community through pro bono efforts and contributions to AJFA helps those who would otherwise not have the help they need to resolve their legal problems.

Emerging Legal Leaders welcomes new leadership

We thank Naziol S. Nazarinia Scott, of Stoel Rives for her service as the founding Chair of the Emerging Legal Leaders (ELL) Board. The ELL was created to encourage a younger generation of attorneys to form a community around “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” mission of improving access to justice for all. “She has been a driving force for the success of the ELL and we are so grateful for all she has done for the betterment of access to justice in the community,” Kai Wilson, Executive Director, of “And Justice for All” mentioned. We welcome new leadership as of July 1, 2016 and want to thank them for their on-going support and look forward to the great things they will do. Welcome: Steven Burt, Vivant Solar – Chair Lauren DeVoe, Morris Sperry – Vice Chair Jack Nelson, Manning, Curtis, Bradshaw & Bednar – Secretary

AJFA Thanks Utah Law Firms this World Day of Social Justice

“With exclusion and inequality on the rise, we must step up efforts to ensure that all people, without discrimination, are able to access opportunities to improve their lives and those of others.”  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon The World Day of Social Justice is the United Nation’s annual day to promote the pursuit of social justice for all. Today, we observe and celebrate Utah’s legal community coming together in the pursuit of poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all. The law firms annually support AND JUSTICE FOR ALL through generous firm donations. 91% of the money donated funds legal aid services for Utah’s most disadvantaged residents: victims of domestic violence, the poor and the disabled. We acknowledge and thank Utah law firms such as Parsons Behle, Ray Quinney & Nebeker, Holland and Hart, Dolowitz and Hunnicutt, Parr Brown and Manning Curtis Bradshaw and Bednar as well as the dozens of other firms who donate generously to this cause. In the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the work of AND JUSTICE FOR ALL partner agencies allows vulnerable Utah’s to, “access opportunities to improve their lives” without discrimination. Funding legal aid promotes social justice in many ways. Legal problems, left unaddressed, can cause the type of economic shock that pushes people in the margins deeper and deeper into poverty. The inability to enforce child support and alimony, for instance, can perpetuate poverty in single-parent households. Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake and Utah Legal Services work diligently to provide lawyers free of charge or for a small fee to improve financial and familial outcomes for parents and her or his children. Decreasing discrimination also improves economic and housing outcomes for struggling Utahns. The Disability Law Center, an AJFA partner agency, prevents discrimination for all protected classes (race, color, ethnicity, sex/gender, religion, disability and familial status) in housing by ensuring that an individual’s housing rights are upheld and that micro or systematic discrimination is not present. Utah Legal Services’ new program to expunge the records of chronically homeless populations resulted in a job and […]

Celebrating International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and how Legal Aid Protects the Rights of the Indigenous in Utah

Sunday was the United Nations’ International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Observed each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous populations, “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” would like to celebrate Utah’s indigenous history, while also recognizing how civil legal aid plays a role in protecting the rights of the indigenous in this state. Utah’s indigenous history has contributed much to the state we have today; everything from the name of our state to the most popular sports team within our borders is derived from the Ute people, “Ute” meaning “land of the sun.” The Utes are joined by the Paiute, Goshute, Shoshone and Navajo peoples living in Utah. In 2014, “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” partner agency Utah Legal Services’ (ULS) Native American Division helped 31 American Indian individuals and their 58 dependents access justice to meet their most basic needs, overcome discrimination, and obtain safety from abuse. Since 1976, Utah Legal Services has collaborated with Utah’s Tribal Nations to provide effective services to tribal members and non-tribal members in cases in tribal court. The ULS Native American Division assists income-eligible members of the five Native American Tribes of Utah.  ULS represents and assists individuals in two tribal courts, as well as urban Indians and individuals who have cases open in the Utah state courts.  They represent juvenile delinquents, and provide free legal services in civil domestic matters such as guardianship cases, divorce cases, child custody proceedings, adoption matters, child support matters, name changes, obtaining delayed birth records, wills and probate, representation of minor children as appointed guardians ad litem, land disputes, conservatorships, public benefits, expungements, and protective orders. The law can be convoluted and bureaucratic, and often, a lawyer is necessary to see the forest for the trees. Ailen* was born on the Navajo Indian Reservation and did not have an official birth record. As a young girl, the woman was sent to a boarding school where she was given a different name than the name given by her parents.  She later married and her name again changed, so her records from her tribe did not match her records […]

Celebrating the ADA, and Recognizing There is Still More to Be Done

Twenty five years ago yesterday, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law.  The historic act provided sweeping civil protections to Americans living with disabilities on the scale of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and ensured that no U.S. citizen would be deprived of the opportunities to which they are entitled because of a disability.  The anniversary of the Act is certainly cause to celebrate how far we’ve come but also cause for thoughtful reflection on the plight of people living with disabilities and how far we still need to go to guarantee them a good quality of life. There are many parts of the ADA that are still violated across the country.  Many buildings still lack the structural changes necessary to accommodate those who have difficulty walking or use a wheelchair.  A good number of corporations in the U.S. still refuse to make changes to properly accommodate their employees living with disabilities. Employers are required under the ADA to consider people with disabilities on an equal basis with other applicants, however the ADA has provided little deterrent if an employer chooses not to hire  qualified individuals with disabilities.  Only 17.1 percent of people with  disabilities were employed in 2014, compared to 64.6 percent of those without a disability (Salt Lake Tribune, July 26, 2015). Additionally, health care for people with disabilities can be quite costly and difficult to acquire, and many times benefits to which they are entitled are wrongly withheld. Across the nation, Americans with disabilities are still fighting to receive the treatment they need. There is still much to do, but if we keep pushing forward, we can improve the lives of millions.  This is the mission of the Disability Law Center, an AJFA partner agency. Civil legal battles can be incredibly expensive, and many Utahans with disabilities can’t afford to take on the financial burden.  At the Disability Law Center, our attorneys work tirelessly  to ensure that every Utahan living with a disability is treated fairly regardless of income level.  At the DLC, we’ve helped thousands of Utahans with […]

Thank you, Parr Brown Gee & Loveless

Parr Brown Gee & Loveless has been a vital partner in AJFA’s quest to provide justice for all since our first year. Daniel E. Barnett generously services on our Leadership Committee, using his energy and effective advocacy skills to champion fairness in access to the legal system. In Dan’s words: “All over the world, people struggle every day because they live under regimes that deny them justice. We live in a different world. We have the great fortune to live under a system “conceived in liberty” and “dedicated to the proposition” we are all equal under the law. The established institutions of justice we represent and serve exist to “secure the blessings” of our liberty and safeguard our proposition of equality. But security, liberty, and equality are not reality for those who lack the resources or capacity to access the promise of our institutions. Through the agencies it funds, “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” provides meaningful access to justice for individuals in our community with the greatest need: individuals living in poverty, individuals with disabilities, veterans, seniors, minorities, and victims of domestic violence. There is no other resource available for many of the clients served by the agencies that receive funds from “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.” Please join me in supporting the “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL”  campaign. Much is riding on its success.” We are so grateful to Dan and his colleagues at Parr Brown for their commitment to justice for vulnerable Utahns, so struggling families can secure their basic needs and live a life of safety and well-being.

Thank you, Parsons Behle & Latimer

Thanks to Parsons Behle & Latimer for its leadership gift to “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.” The firm has supported the campaign generously since it began in 1999. Hal J. Pos, Parsons’ Vice-Chairman and Shareholder, has served on the “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” Leadership Committee for 16 years, giving invaluable time and resources to ensure civil legal aid for Utah’s most vulnerable. He, in addition to James Lee and Ray Etcheverry, as well as our Emerging Legal Leader Executive Committee member Michael Young, have been major supporters and advocates of AJFA, truly believing in giving back to our community. Hal says: “Regardless of who a person is, where they are from, or their economic status, they deserve equal access to our justice system.  It is a fundamental right.  I am honored to work for a firm that proudly supports many nonprofit organizations through pro bono legal services, board service, mentoring, and financial contributions, and is the largest supporter of “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.”” Without the incredible people at Parsons Behle & Latimer, “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” would be less whole, and we are incredibly grateful to them for what they have done to make justice a reality for those we serve.

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 loveutgiveut.org, 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 […]