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Wells Fargo Bank Partners with LACBA to Help Veterans

LACBA's Veterans Legal Services Project gratefully acknowledges Wells Fargo's ongoing support of veterans in our community. Since the Project's inception three years ago, Wells Fargo has provided significant funding to help veterans remove legal barriers to employment.

"As a nation we must protect and honor those whom have courageously fought and served our country. It is why at Wells Fargo, when recruiting our team members, we work with talent resources that focus on diversity and veterans. Together with LACBA we are breaking down those legal barriers our service members shouldn't have to come home to face," said David DiCristofaro, lead region president of Wells Fargo in Greater Los Angeles.

Located at Patriotic Hall in downtown Los Angeles, the Veterans Legal Services Project helps veterans' clear tickets and warrants that could result in suspension of their driver's license and prevent them from passing employee background checks. Removing these obstacles helps clear the way for veterans to find meaningful jobs, thereby reducing their risk of homelessness and giving them critical self-respect.

The Project helps veterans with:

  • Self Help Resolving Tickets and Warrants—We hold workshops to teach veterans how to clear outstanding tickets and warrants, often for minor infractions such as jaywalking and speeding, which, if left unaddressed, can become major barriers for veterans trying to secure a driver's license or employment.
  • Expungements: Clearing Criminal Record for Employment—Attorneys review expungement files and criminal documents, interview clients, draft petitions and declarations in complex cases, and prepare cases for filing. This is an area of high demand among veterans where the goal is to obtain dismissals of misdemeanor convictions, some of which may be a result of homelessness, because they prevent access to employment.
  • Reinstating California Driver Licenses—We assist veterans with reinstating their personal or commercial driver license. This service is linked to outstanding tickets and warrants because unresolved citations often lead to revocation of driver licenses.

Impact:  In 2015, the Veterans Legal Services Project assisted more than 450 people with an 80 percent success rate in helping clients clear their legal barriers to employment. This relief includes successful expungement of qualifying convictions, and can range from complete dismissal of citations and warrants to a reduction of fines and fees.

This success would not be possible without significant support from the community, Wells Fargo and other corporate partners.  On behalf of those we serve, and the Los Angeles County Bar Association, thank you.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,600 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 269,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 27 on Fortune's 2016 rankings of America's largest corporations. Wells Fargo's vision is to satisfy our customers' financial needs and help them succeed financially.

In 2015, Wells Fargo donated $281.3 million to 16,300 nonprofits, ranking No. 3 on the Chronicle of Philanthropy's rankings of the top corporate cash philanthropists. Wells Fargo team members volunteered 1.86 million hours in 2015, serving more than 40,000 nonprofits. Wells Fargo's corporate social responsibility efforts are focused on three priorities: economic empowerment in underserved communities, environmental sustainability, and advancing diversity and social inclusion. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories. For more information on Wells Fargo's commitment to community service, visit https://www.wellsfargo.com/about/corporate-responsibility/community-giving/

 

Commissioner Janet Neal

Commissioner
Janet Neal

I fought the Fire Department and Won Thanks to the AIDS Legal Services Project

"No lawyer would take my case." I found no one. I couldn't get a call back even from the legal aid organizations. Until the day I got a call from the LACBA AIDS Legal Services Project ("ALSP"). That call saved my life and my sanity. They referred me to the Sedgwick firm. Their team, including law students from UCLA and Loyola, were outraged by how I was treated.

My name is Janet Anise Neal. I am a 68 year-old permanently disabled senior citizen living with eleven diagnosable conditions. I am currently the 1st Vice-President of the LA County Commission on Disabilities and am the oldest daughter of firefighter II, Nathan W. Neal, one of the first black firefighters for the City of Los Angeles. In 1981 I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a rare genetic –inherited connective tissue disease and that same year I received a blood transfusion known to be tainted with the HIV virus. But I was never told I was HIV+, only finding out in 2003, when I was shunned by UCLA.

The fight begins

In 2009, upon my father's death, I applied for disabled adult dependent pension benefits with the LA City Fire Department. The LAFD denied my claim twice even after I asked the Fire Chief, Battalion Chief and 10 Captains for help.

My Sedgwick legal team had LAFD and FPP for lunch. The ALSP found a doctor that specialized in Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and HIV. It was very emotional for me to have someone not only believe what I said, but prove I have always had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome I received tremendous emotional and psychological support from everyone throughout this arduous process.

We prevailed!

Luckily, the call to ALSP resulted in attorneys at Sedgwick taking my case and fighting for me every step of the way. And, they prevailed. In 2016, I received 55% (plus raises) of my dad's pension. But I'm not the only one who was helped. This case caused LAFPP to change the way they review disabled adult dependent claims.

Without the ALSP and the Sedgwick frim, I would have lost my house. I frequently I went without food and utilities. They have been a blessing for me and I want to do all I can to keep ALSP alive and well. I ask that you do too. Thank you all.

For more information on our AIDS Legal Services Project, please click here.

LACBA Civic Mediation Project Volunteer Receives County Award

On Tuesday, April 5, 2016, at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting, Sally Patchen, a dedicated volunteer to the LACBA Civic Mediation Project received the William C. Hobbs Award for Outstanding Adult Volunteer for 2016 from the County of Los Angeles.

Award winner Sally Patchen, LACBA Civic Mediation Project volunteer, shows off her County Award with Project Staff Julie Ware and Andrew Culberson
Award winner Sally Patchen, LACBA Civic Mediation Project volunteer, shows off her County Award with Project Staff Julie Ware and Andrew Culberson

An experienced mediator, conflict resolution coach, and strategic negotiation consultant with a passion for helping people find amicable and peaceful solutions to their conflicts whether it’s employer/employee, landlord/tenant, family, or community conflicts she takes an unbiased approach and work diligently to find the win-win solution for both parties. Using a transformative framework, focusing on peaceful and meaningful human interaction, she helps her clients create productive and harmonious environments at work and at home.

“My guiding principle regarding mediation is one where everyone is connected, so restoring peace in the community is part of the larger framework of creating a peace-filled world.”

Congratulations on the well-deserved recognition, Sally! Thank you for all you do.

The mission of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Civic Mediation Project (LACBA CMP) is to teach and empower individuals and neighborhoods to find peaceful ways to address and resolve conflicts.  The Project provides free community mediation as well as a Peer Mediation Program in select area middle schools.



Proskauer brings a team of attorneys to help Veterans


Led by Colleen Hart, a partner and LACBA Counsel for Justice Board Member,  Proskauer attorneys have “headlined” two LACBA Veterans Legal Services Project clinics at Patriotic Hall, providing pro bono assistance to help veterans remove barriers to employment.

LACBA Veterans Project provided Colleen with a great opportunity to get her colleagues at Proskauer’s Los Angeles office involved in the firm’s commitment to supporting veterans through its corporate social responsibility and pro bono programs.   A veteran herself, Ms. Hart stated, “CFJ is doing important work to empower veterans to remove barriers to employment by resolving issues such as outstanding warrants and traffic tickets. These legal issues, even those that are relatively minor, can show up on a background check and make it difficult for veterans to obtain work.  Our Proskauer volunteers had the opportunity to see first-hand how a relatively small commitment of time and service can have an enormous impact on the lives of our veterans.”



Immediate Impact – A Veteran’s Story

Veterans

During their first clinic, Proskauer attorneys assisted a veteran who was honorably discharged from the Navy with a Letter of Commendation.  He now lives in Chicago where he is a commercial van driver. Despite severe PTSD symptoms, the veteran was the caretaker for his ailing mother with Alzheimer’s.  The veteran received a citation in California in 2006 for lack of registration but did not realize he had not paid the ticket until he applied for a new job.  

The veteran traveled to California to deal with the citation and found out his fines and fees had ballooned beyond his ability to pay.  Proskauer volunteers noticed the client had a court appearance the next morning, and responded by creating a motion to dismiss “in the interests of justice.”  After submitting the handwritten motion, the veteran received 25 hours of community service and his fines were reduced to $97. With this legal hurdle cleared, the veteran is again driving legally and was able to take the better paying job back home in Chicago.