AIDS Legal Services Project Thanks Immigration Attorneys for Hosting Clinic for Clients with HIV and AIDS
The AIDS Legal Services Project (ALSP) would like to thank Todd Becraft and Leslie Mahley, active LACBA Immigration and Nationality Law Section members, and long-time volunteers of ALSP, for helping to launch and host a regular immigration clinic for HIV+ clients. It’s a collaborative effort that has so far assisted more than 100 people living with HIV and AIDS, who are often fleeing oppression and discrimination from around the world.
Leslie helped start the clinic and recruit volunteers. When ALSP and Los Angeles HIV and Law Policy Project (LA HLPP), a collaboration for ALSP, Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, and Inner City Law Center, needed space to hold the clinic, Todd, whose office are in the mid-Wilshire area, gladly opened his doors.
ALSP would also like to thank long-time volunteer attorney Brian Schield, partner at Squire Patton Boggs which sponsors the clinic with a yearly donation, and to law partners, Olga Badilla and Sohar Quinteros who not only have volunteered at virtually every clinic, but take on the more challenging clients for full-scope representation.
It’s a pro bono team effort with another nine immigration attorney volunteers:
- Brigit Alvarez
- Veronica Barba
- David Illions
- Margarita Manduley
- John Perry
- Joseph Shepherd
- Joseph Weiner
- Vera Weisz
- Judy Wood
The efforts of our volunteers change people’s lives. Here’s one example:
Steven’s Volunteer Experience
LACBA Barrister Steven Baugh first volunteered with the AIDS Legal Services Project in 2014 when he joined the project's AIDS Walk team. In addition to raising much needed funds for ALSP, Steven wanted to work with clients. With the growing demand for services on debtor rights issues, Steven was quickly put to work at a Debtor/Creditor clinic sponsored by the ALSP and LA HLPP. At the clinic, not only did Steven meet his first pro bono client, he met his ALSP mentor attorney as well, Tom Mulally, a long-time volunteer and LACBA Volunteer Aranda Award recipient.
Steven's first client was Ricardo, who was 61-years-old and living on SSI benefits. When Steven and Ricardo met, a debt collector had recently sued Ricardo on a $2,500 credit card debt. Ricardo is judgment proof, with no assets and only disability income to live on. It is too often a common scenario for ALSP clients since many are disabled and living in Los Angeles on less than $1,000 a month, particularly with a chronic health condition.
With Tom help, Steven reached out to the debt collector to clear Ricardo’s name. After several months of negotiations, Steven checked in with the ALSP, “I’m very happy to report that the case has been dismissed with prejudice! We are technically under a non-disclosure agreement as to the terms, but I think it’s safe to say that Ricardo is happy with how things turned out.”
Volunteering with ALSP is important to Steven, “Everybody needs some help sometimes, and I am grateful for the opportunity, through ALSP, to use my skills for good.” Since he helped Ricardo, Steven has helped two other clients with auto loans.
Steven also raised funds with the project’s AIDS Walk team in 2015.