In the 80’s, Sam bought a house with his girlfriend. Shortly after, they broke up and the girlfriend moved out. Decades passed and Sam lived alone in the home for years. Now in his late seventies and plagued with health issues, Sam had been in and out of the hospital and rehab for months when he contacted Legal Services for the Elderly. Sam was now subject to a default judgement in an equitable partition action on the home, and the house was being sold. In fact, Sam had just days to pack and move out. He was frantic and confused.
A first year lawyer at Legal Services for the Elderly, Bridget immediately recognized the gravity of the situation: Sam was about to be homeless, and he had been very, very ill. Using a co-counsel approach with a senior staff attorney, Bridget began to review all the pleadings and gather information from the client. They then worked side by side while drafting a Motion to Set Aside the Default as well as the accompanying affidavits and exhibits. Working as a team, they were able to quickly negotiate a stay with the opposing counsel. Ultimately, LSE was able to refer Sam to an experienced real estate attorney who took over this case and will protect Sam’s interests going forward.
Not only was LSE able to keep Sam in his home, this case offered a valuable opportunity for a young attorney to take the lead on a unique case for LSE. “I appreciated that they were not afraid to let me lead,” said Bridget. “Not only that, but I learned valuable skills building those exhibits and affidavits. I still use those every week.”
Bridget says she knew she wanted to be involved in civil legal aid from her time at the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic as a law student. “When I saw the posting for the attorney job at LSE, it just seemed right.” Now in her second year at LSE, she represents clients in tough situations – like Sam – every day.
Legal Services for the Elderly, the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, and four other Maine civil legal aid providers – Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, Maine Equal Justice, Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project, and Pine Tree Legal Assistance – are all supported in part by the Campaign for Justice, a joint fundraising effort for Maine attorneys. Gifts to the Campaign help people like Sam. To make a gift to the Campaign for Justice, or learn how you can be involved with our work, visit this page.