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Published by Justice Louisiana, 2018-07-27 15:41:41

2017 SLLS Annual Report

annual report 2017 final 7 20 2018

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services


Celebrating 50 Years of
Fighting for Fairness for

Vulnerable People

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 1

Message from SLLS Board
President, Vivian Guillory

“Justice is Golden” as SLLS’ celebrates its 50th

Anniversary of providing life-changing civil legal help to

low-income people. Civil legal aid programs like SLLS
improve communities while keeping faith with one of

America’s core values – equal access to justice. On a

daily basis, our staff and volunteers prevent the loss of

shelter, protect vulnerable people from violence,
strengthen health and family stability, improve economic

opportunities for marginalized people, and more. Pictured above left to right: Vivian Guillory, SLLS Board President,

During our 50th Anniversary Year, I am honored to serve Laura Tuggle, SLLS Executive Director, Roxanne Newman, SLLS
Deputy Director
as the Board President for SLLS. Back in 1967 when
SLLS’ predecessor, the New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation was first founded, it was dubbed “an

experiment” by the Times-Picayune. Despite a difficult start, constant funding challenges, efforts to

dismantle legal aid, and the overwhelming legal needs of Louisiana’s high poverty population, civil legal aid

has proven critical to ensuring a more just society and to strengthening communities.

Working with our 50th Anniversary Advisory Committee, we have planned several events to commemorate
this milestone. We kicked off our 50th year at the Louisiana Supreme Court on November 9, 2017 with a
panel of distinguished speakers and the launch of the “Justice is Golden” Exhibit at the Louisiana Supreme
Court Museum. All four Louisiana law schools are hosting events in partnership with SLLS with community
events also planned on the Northshore and in the Bayou Region. To ensure a strong future for the next 50
years, be on the lookout for our “50 More Years Campaign” starting in Fall 2018. We are very grateful for
all the support we receive from the community in the interest of justice and invite you to join us as we fight
for justice for the next 50 years.

50th Anniversary Year Committee
Lila Arsan, Angela Bazile, Valerie Bargas, Mary Barrios, David F. Bienvenu, Dennis Blunt, Hon. Bernadette D’Souza, Kurt Duncan,

Dean Thomas Galligan, Charmel Gaulden, Vivian Guillory, Rita Gue, Ashley Aubrey Harrison, Jan Hayden, Steven Herman,
Michael Hill, Jay Jalenak, Regina Joseph, Dean Madeleine Landrieu, Brandt Lorio, Kerrie Long, Judy Perry Martinez, Warren
McKenna III, Dean David Meyer, Joel Miller, Monte Mollere, Letita Parker-Davis, John Pearce, Darryl Phillips, Chancellor John
Pierre, William Quigley, Christopher Ralston, Hon. Kern Reese, Lauren Davey Rogers, Marta-Ann Schnabel, Stacy Seicshnaydre,
Hon. Ray Steib, Mark Surprenant, Paul Tabary, Rolando Urbina, Jennifer Van Metre, Claudette Warren, Michael Williamson,

Rachel Wisdom, Hon. Lisa Woodruff-White, Patrick Yancey, Hon. Jay Zainey

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 2

Our Mission
To achieve justice for low-income people in Louisiana by enforcing and defending their legal
rights through civil legal aid, advocacy, and community education.

Our History

For 50 years, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) has provided a legal safety net. We serve 22
parishes covering half of Louisiana’s low-income population from our offices in Baton Rouge, Covington,
Harvey, Hammond, Houma, and New Orleans. SLLS attorneys and support staff are complemented by pro
bono attorneys, law students, and other volunteers. We work in partnership with other community

SLLS provides legal help for indigent and other vulnerable people who cannot afford a lawyer. We protect
livelihoods, health, housing, and families. Programs like ours are essential to assuring fairness for all in the

civil justice system.

Pictured above: SLLS attorneys at the New Orleans Bar Pictured above left to right: Sister Bonnie Hoffman, Vice-
Association’s Bar and Grille fundraiser President of Mission, Daughters of Charity Services of New

2017 Annual Report Orleans; Mary Jane Ciccarello, Director, Borchard
Foundation Center on Law & Aging; Rebecca Holmes,
SLLS Staff Attorney, Medical-Legal Partnership; and Elena
Perez, SLLS Pro Bono Program Managing Attorney at

Daughters of Charity Health Clinic

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 3

Celebrating 50 Years of SLLS

1960's • 1967: New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation (NOLAC) founded with
funding from the Economic Opportunities Act in 5 parishes-- Orleans,
Jefferson, St. Charles, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard

• NOLAC organizes tenants and welfare recipients and conducts class action

1970's • 1974: Legal Service Corporation (LSC) founded
• LSC makes grants to field programs across the US including NOLAC
• 1978: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) founded in 5 parishes--

St. Tammany, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, Washington, Livingston

1980's •SLLS has major victories in class action suits and makes significant
impacts on federal policy
•NOLAC wins Cook v. Ochsner, establishing the right of the poor to access
free care in 18 federally financed hospitals in the nation
•Ban on class action suits
•Federal threat to eliminate and defund LSC

1990's • Rise of pro bono
• NOLAC provides seed funding to start the New Orleans Pro Bono Project
• 1996: additional LSC restrictions
• SLLS funding is restricted and banned from community organizing and

representing prisoners

• National effort to merge LSC programs

• 2003: NOLAC merges with SLLS

• 2005: Hurricane Katrina causes the biggest civil legal aid crisis in the
United States
2000-2015 • 2011: SLLS merges with Capital Area Legal Services

Picture left to right: Mark Moreau, SLLS co-
executive director, Maritza Katz, staff attorney,
and Brian Lenard, SLLS co-executive director

mucking out flooded Chalmette Office post


2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 4

50 Years of Fighting for Fairness for Vulnerable People

The 50th Anniversary Advisory Committee helped the SLLS board commemorate 50 years of service to the Louisiana community.
Darrel Papillion, past president of the Louisiana State Bar Association and a partner in Walters, Papillion, Thomas, Cullens LLC

served as Co-Chair along with R. Patrick Vance, senior partner at Jones Walker and former SLLS board president.

Pictured above: Roxanne Newman, SLLS Deputy Director; Vivian Guillory, SLLS Board Chair; Pictured above: SLLS staff members at the Kickoff
Laura Tuggle, SLLS Executive Director; David Bienvenu, SLLS 50th Anniversary Kick-Off

Subcommittee Chair; Hilarie Bass, ABA President, Dona Kay Renegar, LSBA President; Jim

Sandman, LSC President; Judy Perry-Martinez, SLLS 50th Anniversary Advisory Committee

Pictured above: R. Patrick Vance, 50th Anniversary Advisory Pictured above: Laura Tuggle, Vivian Pictured above: Vivian Guillory, SLLS Board Chair, Dona Kay Renegar,
Committee Co chair, Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Guillory, and Michael Williamson, Executive LSBA President, Jim Sandman, LSC President, and Hilarie Bass, ABA
Bernette Johnson, Laura Tuggle, SLLS Executive Director, and
Director of the United Way of Southeast President
Hilarie Bass, American Bar Association resident Louisiana

The Committee organized the “Justice is Golden” event to kick off a year-long celebration commemorating 50 years
of increasing access to justice in Southeast Louisiana. The event included a panel discussion on the future and

importance of civil legal aid, a reception, and a grand opening of “Justice is Golden,” a special exhibit celebrating civil
legal aid in the Louisiana Supreme Court Museum. The “Justice is Golden” event concluded with the United Way of

Southeast Louisiana presenting SLLS with a check for $56,652 to support its continuing work to assist families
recovering from the 2016 Louisiana Floods.

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 5




Golden Defenders of Justice

Adams & Reese LLP
Herman Herman & Katz LLC

Jones Walker
Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation

Whitney Bank

Silver Patrons of Justice

Baton Rouge Area Foundation ● Capital One Bank ● Phelps Dunbar LLP

Aaron & Gianna, PLC Bronze Allies of Justice Simon Peragine Smith &
Association of Corporate King Krebs & Jurgens Redfearn
R.L. Landreneau, Jr.
Counsel—La. Le Croissant d’Or Southern University Law
Baker Donelson Liskow & Lewis Center
Baptist Community Ministries Louisiana Association of
Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Stone Pigman Walther
Defense Counsel Wittman
Freeman & Sarver, L.L.C. Louisiana State Bar
BN Group Mark & Monica Surprenant
Entergy Services, Inc. Association Taylor Porter
Gordon Arata Montgomery Loyola University N.O. Tulane University Law School
United Way of Southeast
Barnett College of Law
Jane Johnson & David LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Louisiana
R. Patrick & the Hon. Sarah
Marcello Center
Kean Miller LLP McGlinchy Stafford, PLC S. Vance
Christopher Ralston Walters, Papillion, Thomas,
88 Farmers Market
Kim Boyle Friends of Justice Cullens
Heller, Draper, Patrick, Horn, & Kim Tam Jewelry
New Orleans Bar Association O’ Bryon & Schnabel
Dabney, LLC. New Orleans Bar Foundation Optima Eye Care

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 6

Our Priorities

Areas Served
Louisiana Legal Services Network

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 7

2017 by the Numbers

Having an SLLS attorney prevents loss of family, food, shelter, income, medical care, or personal safety. In
2017, SLLS handled over 12,000 cases, closing over 8,000 of those. SLLS helped almost 28,000
vulnerable Louisianans, reached another 13,475 people through community education, and provided legal
information to 165,000 more through and About 4,000 cases remained
open. The charts below are a breakdown of our closed and open cases as of 12/31/2017.

637 Closed Cases
Health Individual Benefits 1.2%
662 Family/Domestic Violence
Wills/Successions 7.9%


842 1361
Child in Need of Care Housing 16.4%


Income & Benefits 11.7%

11 Employment .3% Open Cases 17 Education .4%
9 Health .2%
61 Individual Rights 1.6%

256 Consumer 6.7%

310 Miscellaneous 8.1% 1209
Juvenile 31.5%

375 Housing 9.8%

392 Income 10.2% 1186 Family
2017 Annual Report 31%

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 8

Economic Impact in 2017

It is difficult to place a dollar amount on the value of community benefits and societal cost savings produced

by civil legal services. The direct economic impact of SLLS’ 2017 work to our clients exceeded $23
million. This represents income secured, assets or benefits protected, such as the value of homes saved

from foreclosure, consumer debt relief, health coverage obtained, housing subsidies preserved, financial
support for hard-working families, and much more. No price tag can be placed on the value of lives saved
through our Domestic Violence and Child in Need of Care work.

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 9

Stories Behind the Numbers

(Pictured above: Mr. Michael Esnault at SLLS Protects Vulnerable Residents from Mass
his apartment) Eviction

At Christmas time in 2016, 53 low-income tenants of the
American Can Apartments building received eviction notices.
Residents were informed they would be evicted by January
2017. Dozens of families faced losing their affordable housing
as the owner phased out all low-income units and raised
rents. Many were elderly or disabled residents. For Vietnam
veteran Michael Esnault and his partner Anne Tucker who

had lived in the American Can Apartments building the past 6 years, this felt like a betrayal. “(It’s) definitely
a slap in the face,” Esnault told WWLTV in an interview. “I always paid the bills on time and everything
else.” Mr. Esnault called on SLLS for help. SLLS attorney Hannah Adams jumped into action. SLLS and its
partner the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) sent a letter demanding that the
owner immediately cease and desist from evicting low-income tenants. “We always have a concern when a
mass eviction is happening that primarily affects say, people with disabilities or other group that may be
protected under civil rights law,” Adams said. Following negotiations, the owner agreed to extend the lease
termination date from January 31, 2017 to October 31, 2017, to provide housing counseling to help the
tenants locate other housing, and to cover relocation costs. Our work resulted in the vulnerable tenants at
the American Can Apartments having sufficient time and resources to locate alternative housing while
exposing a systemic problem with expiring rent subsidies.

Helping Flood Survivors Recover

Since losing her husband many years ago, Mrs. P. had
increasingly relied on family members to help her handle
her affairs. At 96 years old, she could no longer manage
everything on her own, though she still lived in her own
home in rural Ascension Parish outside of Baton Rouge.
She executed a power of attorney to her daughter to make
life a bit easier.

Her life was upended when her home was flooded in
August 2016. Mrs. P.’s daughter tried to handle filing a FEMA claim for her mom. She was denied when
FEMA could not match up proof of ownership. Utility bills were no longer in Mrs. P.’s name as she had

changed things to her daughter’s name. It seemed to FEMA that Mrs. P. did not live there. She learned
about SLLS from her Disaster Case Manager. We worked with Mrs. P. and her daughter to submit a FEMA
appeal. SLLS used court records and other legal documents to prove ownership. FEMA overturned its
decisions and approved Mrs. P. for home repair assistance in the amount of $15,590.23. This approval also
cleared the way for Mrs. P. to be approved for temporary housing assistance while her home was being
repaired. Now Mrs. P is back in her home with peace of mind since she can leave her home to future

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 10

Guiding Survivors of Domestic Violence through the Court System

Vivian was subjected to continual verbal and physical
abuse throughout her marriage. She had to call the
police multiple times to intervene in attacks by her
violent husband. When she was pregnant with her
third child, her husband wrestled her to the ground, hit
her in the head, and choked her until she passed out.
When she came to, she managed to escape with her
two children. Even after she got away, the abuse did
not stop. Her now estranged husband found out
where she was hiding. He climbed over an eight-foot
gate and broke in.

By then nine months pregnant, Vivian decided she had to take legal action to protect herself and her
children. She sought legal help from SLLS. We helped her obtain an 18-month protective order. We also
filed for divorce and custody. Vivian was awarded sole custody of all three children due to the history of
domestic violence. Supervised visitation was ordered for her now ex-husband. Child support was also
ordered to help her support her family. The civil legal help provided to Vivian made a huge difference in her
life. After court, she sent an email to her attorney with the subject line “A thousand thank you’s!” She went
on to say “… I am grateful every day for the peace we finally have. To have sole custody of my children is
everything and it would not have been possible without you. After several years, we are finally now
beginning to slowly heal.”

Helping Veterans Obtain Benefits

Mr. R, a 64-year-old veteran, suffered the impact of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for decades after
completing his Marine Corps military service in the Vietnam War. He became alienated from his family due

to the long-term effects of his illness. After developing
cancer, he could no longer work and wound up
homeless on the streets of New Orleans. He sought
SLLS’s help to appeal with a claim for veteran benefits.

Getting approval for a VA service connected claim can
often take years. SLLS helped Mr. R get stabilized into a
housing program. He got a new phone number during
this transition. Shortly after starting his case, Mr. R came
into SLLS in a panic. His food stamps were being cut off
because he allegedly missed a telephone recertification
appointment. He had tried to resolve this on his own online and over the phone to no avail. SLLS was able
to help Mr. R quickly resolve the problem with the State administering agency and his food stamps were
reinstated for two years. No longer facing going hungry, Mr. R. thanked his SLLS attorney with tears in his
eyes. We were delighted to share the news with Mr. R few months later that we won his veteran benefits
claim. Now Mr. R has a stable future, permanent housing, and access to healthcare. We were proud to fight
for him as he once fought for us.

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 11

Protecting Vulnerable Consumers

Mr. H had been working at Wal-Mart for years. There was
no reliable bus service in his rural community, so he
walked back and forth about a mile every day. Now in his
50’s, this was getting hard for him. He saved his money
to buy a car. The salesman at a used car dealership
assured him that the car he picked out was in good
condition and had never been in an accident. Mr. H.
bought it for $5,000. The salesman persuaded Mr. H. to
spend $2,000 more for an extended warranty. Mr. H.
made a $2,000 down payment and financed the rest.

About two weeks later, the car became inoperable. Mr. H.
took it to a mechanic who gave him bad news -- the car was in a previous accident and needed expensive
repair work. To top that off, the $2,000 warranty he purchased was no good. Why? The car had more
100,000 miles on it as it had at the time of sale so repairs were excluded under the warranty. On learning
this, Mr. H got in touch with the finance company. The company told him they would investigate and that
the monthly note payments would be suspended while the investigation was underway. The car was in the
repair shop for months. Then the finance company repossessed the car and sued Mr. H for the balance
owed threatening to garnish his wages.

Mr. H sought SLLS' help after he was sued for over $10,000 in principal, interest, and attorney fees. We
sued the car dealership for unfair trade practices and represented him against the finance company. We
obtained a $5,000 judgment against the dealer, got the balance paid off, avoided garnishment of his wages,
and helped him avoid future credit problems stemming from this improper lawsuit. Mr. H. has now saved up
for another car and decided to have us review things first.

Safeguarding Hard-Working Taxpayers

A retired couple sought the help of SLLS’ Low-Income
Taxpayer Clinic. They faced a large tax liability for two
years. This occurred because the husband had a business
which dissolved when he retired. His last business return
was audited. The tax preparer promised to send the
business records to the IRS for the audit. The tax preparer
failed to do so and also did not inform the couple about
their appeal rights. The result was that they owed the IRS
and the state of Louisiana over $50,000. In addition, the
state of Louisiana suspended the husband’s driver’s

SLLS submitted financial information to the IRS and the state to show that our clients had limited income
and no valuable assets. As a result, both the IRS and the state agreed to settle the liability for $1 each and
the husband’s driver’s license was reinstated. Now the couple can enjoy their golden years.

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 12

Ensuring Access to Education and Family Stability

When Ms. M.’s daughter died, she took over caring for
her young granddaughter. Ms. M., an elderly widow,
planned to enroll her 3-year-old granddaughter in a
Head Start Program in the fall of 2017. To her surprise,
Ms. M. could not enroll her granddaughter since she did
not have legal custody. She lived on a fixed income
from Social Security and knew she could not afford to
pay an attorney. The school told her about the new
SLLS Access to Justice Center in St. Charles Parish.

Ms. M. sought our assistance. We worked with Ms. M.
to file legal tutorship documents in court which allowed
her to enroll the child in school, to file for Kinship Care assistance through the State, and to consent to
medical care. Now Ms. M. and her granddaughter have a more stable life. We are happy to report that
Head Start is a hit and that the family obtained an additional $222 per month to help support the minor child
through Kinship Care.

Saving Families from Homelessness

Making ends meet had been a struggle ever since Ms. S became
disabled and she split from her husband. She made sure to always
pay her rent so that there would always be a roof over her and her
son’s head even if she had to do without other items. Just before
Christmas, Ms. S got an eviction notice to appear in front of the
Justice of the Peace. She couldn’t understand why because she
paid the rent on the trailer and the lot she leased from the property
owner. She feared becoming homeless over the holidays.

The property owner claimed she never got the rent from July 2017 even though it was now December
2017. Ms. S. still had money order stubs that she had timely mailed to the address provided by the
landlord. According to the money order company, the money orders were cashed. Not knowing where to
turn for help, Ms. S. was referred to SLLS from the Access to Justice Center. We represented Ms. S. at the
eviction hearing and were able to prove she had paid the rent. We defeated this unjust eviction and Ms. S.
and her family were able to keep their home for the holiday.

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 13

Impact Advocacy Stories

Taking a Stand for Stalking Victims

A district denied relief to a self-represented victim who had
filed for protection under Louisiana’s Dating Violence Act.
Even though the victim had a $1,700 hospital bill, the court
held there was insufficient evidence that a battery had
occurred. The court then assessed this low-income victim
with over $2,000 in court costs despite a state statute
providing that dating violence petitions can be filed without
cost and that costs are to be assessed against the plaintiff
only if the suit filed was frivolous.

Though it had not handled the original case, SLLS filed an appeal on the grounds that the suit was not
frivolous. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal agreed that the statute specifically exempted the victim from
costs unless her case was actually found to be frivolous. The appeals court reversed the assessment of
costs. Since the victim’s suit was not frivolous, she was given statutory protections. This result helped set a
precedent to combat the problem of stalking or domestic violence victims not seeking legal protection for
fear of high court fees being imposed on them.

Preventing Housing Discrimination Against Disabled Clients

A disabled tenant had lived in Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) with the
same landlord for seven years. The PSH program provided her with a case
worker to help address any problems with her tenancy. When the tenant’s health
began to worsen, her landlord filed an eviction against her for alleged damage to
the apartment. The landlord made no attempt to resolve any issues with the
tenant and her case manager, even though the lease and the Fair Housing Act
required he do so.

SLLS represented the tenant at the eviction hearing. We argued that significant
damage to the apartment was not proven and that the proper remedy, which had
not been pursued, would be to charge the tenant a damage fee per the lease.
We also argued that any problems with the tenant could have been worked out
through a reasonable accommodation by making all non-emergency contacts through the client’s PSH case
manager. The trial court agreed with SLLS and found that a reasonable accommodation of the tenant’s
disability was required. When the landlord filed an appeal, SLLS represented the tenant in the Louisiana 4th
Court of Appeal. The appellate court ruled in our favor, establishing the first reported reasonable
accommodation case for a tenant living with disabilities in Louisiana in almost a decade.

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 14

SLLS 2017 Honors

Hannah Adams Receives Excellency in Advocacy Award

Hannah Adams, a 2017-18 Borchard Fellow working with Southeast
Louisiana Legal Services in New Orleans, received the 2017 Louisiana
State Bar Association Excellence in Advocacy Award. She was chosen
because of her inspiring passion, dedication, and professionalism in
representing vulnerable clients through her work in housing,
homelessness, and healthcare rights.

Doug Carey Honored by the New Orleans Bar Association

On May 20, 2017, SLLS Family Law/Domestic Violence Unit
Managing Attorney Doug Carey received the Mark Moreau
Award from the New Orleans Bar Association (NOBA) at the
annual NOBA Bar & Grille fundraiser benefitting SLLS. The
Mark Moreau Award honors SLLS’ longtime well-respected
former Co-Executive Director. Doug was honored for his
dedication to public interest work throughout his career, his
legacy of training young lawyers, and his record of leadership in
increasing access to justice for vulnerable people.

Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) Pro Bono Awards

SLLS was honored when six of its nominees received awards at the Louisiana State Bar Association
(LSBA) Pro Bono Awards at the Supreme Court in New Orleans, La. on May 23, 2017: Now retired SLLS
Directing Attorney Sarah "Jamie" Campbell was honored with an 2017 LSBA President's Access to Justice
Award, SLLS’ Distinguished Access to Justice Fellow Judy Perry Martinez was bestowed with the 2017
David A. Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award, SLLS volunteer attorney Taylor Eley received a 2017 Pro
Bono Publico Award, our North Shore Pro Bono Project volunteer Nisha Sandhu received a 2017 Century
Club Award, Kyle Anderson a 2017 Law Student Pro Bono Award, and the St. Charles Parish Bar
Association received the 2017 Friend of Pro Bono Award.

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 15

Increasing Access to Justice for All through Technology Innovations

SLLS continued to expand justice to all by operating the statewide free legal information website with resources available in both Spanish and English, and legal alerts through our
website and Face book page.

Statewide Public 134,000 Unique 163,000 Page
Information Site Users Views
Website 31,000 Unique 44,000 Page
Site Visitors Views

SLLS’ Website Coordinator recruits, trains, and supervises "LiveHelp" navigators from the Paul M. Hebert
Law Center at Louisiana State University. The navigators help people find information on Law Student Volunteers use instant messaging software to communicate in real-
time with hundreds of visitors to For more information or to become a volunteer
please contact Lisa Stansky at [email protected]

SLLS Receives Technology Initiative Grants

In November 2017, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) awarded SLLS two
Technology Initiative Grants (TIGs) to provide greater quality legal assistance to
low-income people. SLLS will streamline and update
The project will refresh the look of the site, improve navigation, and boost
access for mobile device users.

SLLS is also working on a TIG to develop interactive online forms to help pro se litigants with consumer
debt and simple divorce cases. This project will also develop instructional “LibGuides” to help librarians
refer pro se litigants to legal information.

Innovative “Flood Proof” App

SLLS partnered with Stanford University, the Baton Rouge Bar Foundation,
Southern University Law Center, the LSU Law Clinic, Louisiana Appleseed,
and the American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation to create Flood
Proof. This app for iPhones and Android phones helps flood victims track
down the proof of home ownership they need to qualify for federal and state
disaster assistance. Grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Baton
Rouge Area Foundation made funded this innovation which is being
replicated for Hurricane Harvey and Irma disaster survivors.

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 16

Self Help Desks Help Address Unrepresented Litigant Crisis

Near 2010, with shrinking funding for civil legal aid, the number of self-represented litigants rose to as high
as 65% in many courts across the country including Louisiana. The civil justice system found it needed new
ways to provide some level of help for people without an attorney especially in family law cases. Local court
partnerships with civil legal aid, bar associations, and other organizations started self-help desks or
courthouse kiosks with self-help resources.

In Louisiana, civil legal aid and pro bono programs began operating self-help desks several years ago.
These desks now serve thousands of people annually. SLLS usually places the self-help desks it operates
in rural areas where it does not have an office or where it runs a pro bono project. Through the support of
the Louisiana Bar Foundation, the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, and the United Way of St. Charles
Parish, SLLS started pilot self-help desks. These and other resources have allowed SLLS to continue
operations beyond initial startup.

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 17

Community Outreach

SLLS staff and volunteers participated in 102 community outreach and legal education efforts in 2017
including resource fairs, Ask a Lawyer sessions, Lawyers in Libraries events, Council on Aging outreach
sessions for the elderly, workshops, and clinics. About 13,475 people were served through our 2017
community outreach events.

Pictured above: Know Your Rights Workshop Pictured above: SLLS Fair Housing Clinic at
Picre Liberty’s Kitchen

Pictured above: Clean Jacket Day Reentry Clinic Pictured above: SLLS attorney Hannah Adams working
Picture above: Clean Jacket Day Reentry Clinic at tornado Disaster Recovery Center

Pictured above: 22nd JDC Self Help Desk Pictured above: SLLS attorney Alexis Erkert training Martinet
Society GNO
2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 18

Making a Difference through Pro Bono

SLLS has vital partnerships with volunteer attorneys and pro bono providers. Through our Legal Services
Corporation (LSC) grant, SLLS provides subgrants to help fund the Baton Rouge Bar Foundation’s Pro
Bono Project and the Pro Bono Project in New Orleans. SLLS also operates several in-house pro bono
efforts including our Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, Northshore Pro Bono Project, and our partnership with
the LSBA LIFT Incubator Program at the New Orleans Family Justice Center. We were delighted to receive

an LSC Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant in 2017 to help us transform our pro bono efforts.

Law Students Make Lasting Contributions

SLLS is fortunate to have law clerks assisting in the delivery of civil legal aid from Loyola, LSU, Southern,
and Tulane Law Schools. We also host law students from schools across the country during alternative
spring and winter breaks. This nationwide interest in volunteering at SLLS started as an outpouring of
support after Hurricane Katrina and continues today. In 2017, law students provided over 10,000 hours
of service valued at over $150,000. Special thanks to all these dedicated future lawyers and their schools

in supporting our work for vulnerable clients.

Pictured above: SLLS summer law Pictured above: 2017 Law Clerk Orientation with SLLS Board Vice-
clerk distributing veteran surveys President Mark Surprenant

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 19

Law School Partnerships Expand Access to Justice

Since its inception, SLLS has proudly worked with law schools and students to expand access to justice.
Activities include summer clerkships, externships, law clinics, alternate break volunteer opportunities,
training efforts, and post-graduate Fellowships. A few examples of our law school partnerships include:

Loyola New Orleans College of Law: “Graduates for Justice”

The Gillis Long Poverty Law Center affiliated with Loyola University’s New Orleans College of Law has
been a strong supporter of SLLS for decades. Their latest programs provide paid post-graduate internships.
The Graduates for Justice program offers full-time, short-term employment to recent graduates waiting for
summer bar exam results. Postgraduate interns work for eight weeks with local civil legal aid offices gaining
valuable legal experience and skills while assisting vulnerable people in our community. SLLS is honored to
be a partner in this new one-of-a-kind initiative filling a service gap.

Pictured above: Deanna Cuevas, Urvi Patel, and
McKayla Smith, the 2017 Graduates for Justice

LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center: “Flood Proof Successions and Title Clearing Clinic”

Following the 2016 flood in Baton Rouge, SLLS formed and led a five-member collaborative partnership
generously funded by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the W.J. Kellogg Foundation, the Greater New
Orleans Foundation, Equal Justice Works, AARP, the Capital Area United Way, and the ABA Center for
Innovation. Stanford University worked with the team to help us create an app for flood survivors. LSU
created its first Succession Clinic to help flooded homeowners obtain clear title to heir property so they can
receive recovery funding. Since the collaborative project’s inception, flooded homeowners have received
free legal help to unlock over $6.8 million in disaster recovery funds or other economic benefits. The Clinic
works with SLLS to help low-income people get the legal proof needed to show they own their home that is
typically required for FEMA funds, insurance proceeds, loans, or rebuilding resources.

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Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 20

Southern University Law Center: “NITA Public Service Trainings”

In 2017, SULC continued its partnership with SLLS to offer staff training through an innovative National
Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) program. Under NITA’s new Public Service program, 32 public interest
lawyers were paired with 16 SULC students for intensive free four-day training. This training gives students
interested in public service careers an edge while also sharpening the skills of civil legal aid attorneys.
SULC was one of the first law schools in the country to participate in the NITA program. The program is
slated to continue through 2018. SLLS is proud to partner with SULC on several projects including its
Successions Clinic as part of our “Flood Proof” project.

Pictured above: SLLS staff and NITA Instructors
at the 2017 NITA Training at SULC

Tulane University Law Center: Lutz Fellowships Expand Services to Victims

Since 2014, eight recent Tulane Law School graduates have started their practice while filling civil legal
services gaps for victims of domestic violence, child abuse/neglect, and disasters. Through a gift from
corporate attorney Laurent C. Lutz, a 1986 Tulane Law School graduate, the law school and SLLS share
the cost of one-year Fellowships. Mr. Laurent Lutz, recently retired EVP, General Counsel & Corporate
Secretary of Sallie Mae, says in creating the fellowship, he and his family hoped to “give new Tulane
lawyers opportunities to follow their aspirations to help others,” with a focus on improving children’s lives.
SLLS has been fortunate enough to retain each Lutz Fellow on staff at the end of their Fellowship.

Pictured above: Lutz Disaster Fellow Julia Pictured above: Jessica Wood, 2014-2015 Lutz
Wilson at community outreach event Fellow, Josephine Vanderhorst, 2015-2016 Lutz
Fellow, and Ana Lopez 2016-2017 Lutz Fellow

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Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 21

Cultivating the Next Generation of Justice Leaders

With generous support from local and national organizations, SLLS hosts innovative Fellowship projects to
respond to urgent community needs. The New Orleans Bar Association and the New Orleans Bar
Foundation currently fund a Veterans Justice Fellowship to address unmet legal needs of vulnerable
veterans. Two Tulane Law School Lutz Fellows and a Loyola Law Schools Gills Long Social Justice
Fellow are helping address the urgent needs of domestic violence victims and abused children. A new LBF
Child Welfare Fellowship provides resources to help SLLS represent abused/neglected children and their
special education needs. Borchard and Berkeley Foundation Fellowships enable SLLS to fight for
housing justice for seniors and people with re-entry issues.

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Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 22

Resources and Finances

For every $1 invested in civil legal aid in Louisiana, our communities receive an $8.73 social return on investment. This
includes healthcare, law enforcement, emergency services, justice returns, and other public cost savings.

Thank You 2017 Funders:

 19th Judicial Family Court  Healing Place Serve  Plaquemines Council on Aging
 21st Judicial District Court  Hope Center –Supportive  St. Charles Bar Association
 22nd Judicial District Services for Veteran’s  St. Charles Council on Aging
Court Families  St. Helena Clerk of Court

 24th Judicial District Court  Irene W & CB Pennington  St. James Council on Aging
 34th Judicial District Court Foundation  St. James Parish Government

 Acadiana Legal Services  IRS Taxpayer Advocate  St. John Council on Aging
 Albert & Elaine Borchard Program  St. Tammany COAST
Foundation Inc.  Jefferson Parish OCD  Start Corporation
 AMIKids  Justice and Accountability  Terrebonne Council on Aging

 Baptist Community Center of Louisiana  Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government
Ministries  Lafourche Parish Council  Tulane University
 Baton Rouge Area on Aging  U.S. Dept. of Justice
Foundation  Legal Services  United Way of Southeast Louisiana
 Berkeley Law Foundation Corporation  United Way of St. Charles

 Borchard Foundation  Livingston Council on  UNITY of Greater New Orleans
Law and Aging Center Aging  Vanderbilt University
 Capital Area Agency on  Livingston Parish Clerk of  Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans
Aging Court  West Tennessee Legal Services, Inc.
 Capital Area Alliance for  Louisiana Appleseed  W.J. Kellogg Foundation
the Homeless Center

 Capital Area United Way  Louisiana Bar Foundation
 City of Baton Rouge  Louisiana Civil Justice
Parish of East Baton Center SLLS Funding 2017

Rouge  Louisiana Commission on
 City of New Orleans Law Enforcement

 Civil District Court  Louisiana Disaster
 Delgado Community Recovery Alliance
College  Louisiana State Bar
 East Baton Rouge Association
Council on Aging  N.O. Artists Against
 Equal Justice Works Homelessness & Hunger

 Gillis Long Poverty Law  N.O. Family Justice

Center Center Federal Funding: 17% LSC: 43%
 Greater New Orleans  N.O. Bar Association
Fair Housing Action  N.O. Bar Foundation
Fundraising: 1% Foundations: 33%

Center  Our Lady of the Lake Filing Fees: 6%

 Greater New Orleans Regional Medical Center

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 23

You Can Increase Access to Justice in Southeast Louisiana
Make a Donation Today.

Your donation to SLLS helps ensure that families can escape abuse, keep their homes, become self-
sufficient, and access health and education services they need to succeed. The demand for our services
continues to grow at a pace that outstrips resources. Your support makes it possible for SLLS to respond to
urgent needs like helping crime victims, aiding unaccompanied immigrant children, or assisting
homeowners with unmet disaster related legal needs.
You can join our community of donors by making a gift today at:
Or your tax-deductible donation can be mailed to:
Roxanne Newman, Deputy Director
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services
P.O. Drawer 2867
Hammond, Louisiana 70404

Volunteer and Make a Difference.

SLLS volunteers make an incredible difference in the lives of our clients.
We can always use help from pro bono attorneys, law students, paralegals,
or other volunteers. We have many opportunities such as Ask-a-Lawyer
events or community education outreach. Volunteers can also use their
skills by helping with marketing, event staffing, fundraising, and other
business needs. To learn more or to let us know how you want to help,
email [email protected] You can also call us at (504) 529-1000 x 230.

Stay in Touch and Learn More about How SLLS Changes Lives
Here are two simple ways to stay on top of SLLS news and learn more about how our work affects the lives
of our clients and the communities we serve:
You can sign up for our email newsletter here.
And, you can also like and follow us on Face book to get up-to-date information
about our clients’ success stories and SLLS news and events.

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Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 24

Forging a Path Ahead for the Next Fifty Years

SLLS is working harder than ever to ensure equal justice and fairness
for vulnerable people. During our 50th year, we will continue to launch
several initiatives to enhance our capacity to better serve clients and
our community. Illustrative examples include:

Investments in Capacity & New Projects Underway to
Increase Access to Justice

 LSC Pro Bono Innovation Fund Transformation Grant
 LSC Technology Innovation Grants
 Veteran Justice Expansions
 Re-Entry Court Collaborative Lawyering Project & Re-Entry

 United Way of Southeast Louisiana Disaster Grant for Long-

Term Recovery
 Coastal Advocacy Grant with Louisiana Appleseed for Bayou

 Flood Proof Incubator Project

Be part of SLLS’ story for the next 50 years. Subscribe to our
newsletter at and like us on Face book. Check out our
website to find out more about our upcoming 50th Anniversary Year

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Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 25

Thank You 2017 Donors!

Thanks to all of our 2017 donors for your generous support. You helped us fulfill our
mission of achieving justice for low-income people in twenty-two parishes in southeast
Louisiana. Please accept our apologies for any omissions.

 Mr. Tyler Antrup  Ms. Julie Finger
 Mr. Stephen Armbruster  Ms. Chelsea Fitzgerald
 Whitney Bank  Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable
 St. Charles Parish Bar Association
 New Orleans Bar Association Foundation
 Louisiana State Bar Association  Baton Rouge Area Foundation
 Ms. Danielle Batten  New Orleans Bar Foundation
 Mr. Sam Brandao  Southern University System Foundation, Inc
 Mr. Jude Bratman  Ms. Becca Fox
 Ms. Maggie Broussard  Mr. Jason Friedrich
 Ms. Amanda Brown  Mr. Scott Galante
 Mr. Larry Brown  Aaron & Gianna, PLC
 Law Office of Roy Burns  Ms. Lisette Gouvis
 Optima Eye Care  Ms. Isabel Groedel
 Mr. Linton Carney  BN Group
 Mr. Nathan Cataline  Mr. Casey Guidry
 Southern University Law Center  Ms. Vivian Guillory
 LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center  Ms. Gillian Gurley
 Ms. Paula Charles  Ms. Rachel Guttman
 Rosenberg & Clark LLC  Mr. David Handelman
 First Class Inc  Ms. Maureen Harbourt
 Belle Terre Country Club  Ms. Emily Harville
 Ms. Valerie Coffin  Lowe, Stein, Hoffman, Allweiss, & Hauver, LLP
 Ms. Johnell Colbert  Mr. Jay Hebert
 Association of Corporate Counsel  Ms. Kathryn Hill
 La. Association of Defense Counsel  Chin Chin Ho Moreau
 Ms. Danielle Crider  Ms. Linda Hodge
 Ms. Nora Zoe Cullen  Canal HR, Inc
 Walters, Papillion, Thomas, Cullens Inc  Mr. Gregory Hughes
 Ms. Alicia Curtis  Mr. Anthony Irpino
 The Honorable Charles Cusimano and Kathleen  Sessions, Fishman, Nathan, & Israel, LLC
 Mr. Jay Jalenak
Cusimano  Ms. Andrea Jeanmaire
 The Honorable Bernadette D’Souza  Kim Tam Jewelry
 Heller, Draper, Patrick, Horn, & Dabney LLC  Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, LA Supreme
 Ms. Maria Dambriuna
 Mr. Charles M. Delbaum Court
 Baker Donelson  Ms. Carrie Johnson
 Ms. Diana Douglas  Ms. Jane Johnson
 Phelps Dunbar L.L.P.  Ms. Jenipher Jones
 Mr. Michael Eppenbach  Ms. Regina Joseph
 Dr. Adam Feibelman  King, Kreb, Jurgens, PLLC
 Ms. Davida Finger  Herman, Herman & Katz
 Mr. Damon Kirin
2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 26

 Mr. Brian Klaslo  Mr. Paul Pugliese
 Ms. Julie Koppman  Mr. Chris Ralston
 Perrier & Lacoste, LLC  Simone, Peragine, Smith, & Redfearn, LLP
 Mr. Raymond Ladouceur  Adams & Reese, LLP
 R.L. Landreneau Jr, Attorney at Law  Ms. Laura Sanders
 Pandit Law  Barrasso, Usdin, Kupperman, Freeman, &
 Corporate Realty Leasing
 Ms. Catherine Lemann Sarver, LLC
 Liskow & Lewis  O’Bryon & Schnabel Law
 Ms. Hannah Ligon  Tulane Law School
 Ms. Amanda Bastanzuri Loring  Entergy Services, Inc
 Mr. Brandt Lorio  Gilsbar Management Services, Inc
 Mr. William & Ms. Karen Magee  MA Sheehan
 Duplantier, Hrapmann, Hogen & Maher, LLP  Ms. Jane Sherman
 Ms. Laura Malveau  Eiffel Society
 Ms. Jane Johnson & Mr. David Marcello  H2O Salon & Spa
 88 Farmers Market  McGlinchey Stafford, PPLLC
 Mr. Michael Massimi  Ms. Ciara Stern
 Ms. Beaula McCoy  Ms. Angela Strohm
 Ms. Tiffany McGuire  Mr. Mark & Ms. Monica Surprenant
 Ms. Margherita McWilliams  Mr. Paul Tabary
 Ms. Rachel Meese  Ms. Cynthia Thomas
 Ms. Diana Mercer  Truist
 Kean Miller LLP  Ms. Laura Tuggle
 Baptist Community Ministries  Mr. Paul Tuttle
 Irwin, Fritchie, Urquhart, & Moore, LLC  USI
 Ms. Andreanicia Morris  Mr. R. Patrick Vance
 Ms. Andrea Neighbors  Ms. Delaney Vollmer
 Ms. Roxanne Newman  Jones Walker
 Lexis Nexis  Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier, &
 Ms. Renee Nieman
 Mr. Jeremy Nusloch Warshauer
 Ms. Margaret Olayomi  Ms. Jessica Wheeler
 Capital One Financial Corporation  Schiff, Scheckman, & White, LLP
 Mr. Whiton Paine  Ms. Sarah Whittington
 Croissant D’Or Patisserie  Mr. David Williams
 Taylor, Porter, Brooks, & Phillip, LLP  Ms. Joy Willig
 Phina  Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann
 Taylor Porter Law  Mr. Hokeun Yoon
 Ms. Erika Zucker

2017 Annual Report

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2017 Annual Report 27

The SLLS Board of Directors Vivian Guillory, President
thanks you for your support! Mark C. Surprenant, Vice President
Michael Hill, Second Vice President
Patrick Yancey, Treasurer
Brandt Lorio, Secretary
Regina Joseph, Assistant Treasurer
Lila Arsan
Joseph Ballard
Mary Barrios
Ashley Greenhouse
Kerrie Long
Warren McKenna III
Joel Miller
Letita Parker-Davis
Christopher Ralston
Paul Tabary
Jennifer Van Metre
Claudette Warren

Please note that Southeast Louisiana
Legal Services has moved the New
Orleans office.

Our new address is 1340 Poydras St.,
Suite 600, New Orleans, La. 70112. The
office’s phone number remains (504)-

2017 Annual Report

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