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Volunteering to Provide a Fresh Start
October 19, 2012
Volunteering to Provide a Fresh Start

Posted by Don Lassman

scalesAs a bankruptcy lawyer, I am honored to volunteer with JF&CS Bet Tzedek Legal Services. Most lawyers want to give back to the community, but it can be difficult to find a way to accomplish this goal. While there are many legal services organizations that serve disadvantaged people, it can be challenging to establish a meaningful connection to organizations and the people they assist. JF&CS Bet Tzedek provides the opportunity to make such connections and to make a real and lasting difference in the life of someone who is in severe financial distress. 

Bankruptcy clients are typically at a very low point, feeling vulnerable and scared, emotionally drained, and harassed by creditors. Some are jobless and, for many, English is not their first language. Treating each client with dignity and respect and working closely with JF&CS case managers and other staff, I am able to carefully learn the specifics of their situations, prepare a bankruptcy filing, and successfully represent the client’s interest in bankruptcy court to achieve a fresh start. Many clients have struggles in addition to financial hardship; by leveraging other program areas at JF&CS, the client achieves a comprehensive solution with continued support before, during, and after bankruptcy proceedings.

I assisted a single women living in a one room apartment. Her rent was more than half of her monthly earnings and her bills were overwhelming. After her case was successfully resolved, she wrote, "I shall be grateful to you for the rest of my life… I can hardly believe that I have been released from my insurmountable debt. I have never felt so free in my life. I thank you for donating your legal services and time to help me… for enabling me to live again and begin anew. I shall always remember you with a heart full of joy for your deeds of loving kindness.”

These are the very real and gratifying benefits to being a JF&CS Bet Tzedek lawyer – knowing that your client will have the support she needs from dedicated staff at JF&CS and that you can play a part in helping those in need improve the quality of their lives.

The cost of a private attorney can be a significant barrier to those needing legal services. Every year, JF&CS Bet Tzedek provides access to free, civil legal services to more than 500 people in desperate situations. JF&CS Bet Tzedek relies heavily on the generosity of its volunteer attorney panel, and I hope you will join me in being a part of this wonderful program.

For more information about JF&CS Bet Tzedek, please contact Director Rachel Pemstein, Esq. at rpemstein@jfcsboston.org or 781-693-5694.

don lassmanA dedicated and active volunteer attorney for JF&CS Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Donald R. Lassman has represented a number of clients in bankruptcy and related issues. Don is a sole practitioner in Needham, where he lives with his wife, Amy, and their two children. He has been recognized for his work with the Boston Bar Association to provide legal assistance to veterans, active duty personnel, and their families. He was also the 2011 recipient of the JF&CS Simon Lottor Exceptional Service Award.
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