spotlight

Fighting For His Neighbor’s Rights

For ALRP Panel Attorney Selby Lighthill, ALRPs services hit pretty close to home. I received a referral for a client who lived only a few blocks from me and was facing an eviction, he said. ALRP called me on a Thursday and said that the trial for the eviction was set for Monday, and could I help? Selby met with the client that day.

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Cassandra is on Her Way Back Up

At age 57, Cassandra has survived an HIV diagnosis, a painful divorce, and assuming custody of her five-year-old granddaughter. But as strong as she is, the debts she faced after her marriage ended threatened to overwhelm her. After ALRP helped her file for divorce a few years ago, she turned to ALRP once again to ask about the possibility of declaring bankruptcy.

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Pat’s Heartbreaking and Rewarding Service

Back in 1987, Pat Dunn, like a lot of people who wanted to respond to the AIDS crisis, used to get handed messages at work or come home to a voice on her answering machine saying “Clint Hockenberry called.” She knew those messages meant that someone had an urgent legal case and needed help immediately. “There was tremendous secrecy, stigma and urgency surrounding AIDS at that time so it was a code we used,” Pat remembered.

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Bankruptcy Attorney Gives Clients a Fresh Start

If you’re overwhelmed with debt, Marti Simon is the kind of person you’d want to ask for help. She’s gentle, nonjudgmental and generous with her time. She’s seen your problem before, and she knows how to help you untangle it. And for more than 20 years, she’s been helping ALRP clients in just this way, as a Panel attorney and more.

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From ALRP to the Kinsey Sicks

If you spend any time talking to Irwin Keller, you realize that his life has taken some unexpected turns purely by chance. One such chance led him to become the Executive Director of ALRP, and another led him to tour nationally as his alter ego Winnie, of the Kinsey Sicks. But you also learn that Irwin has led a life of great intentionality and dedication as well, and perhaps in retrospect, he’s lived exactly the life he always meant to.

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New Faces at ALRP Mean Success to Fred

Many people attend ALRP events to network and see old friends. For Fred Hertz, however, some of his happiest moments occur when he goes to a packed ALRP event and he only knows a few people. “To me, that’s the ultimate affirmation of the success of the organization I helped found,” he said. “It’s not just me and my friends anymore—it’s grown up as an agency. I’m thrilled to see where ALRP has gone.”

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Attorney Loves Advocating for Clients

Laura Maechtlen was a music major in college, and she sometimes jokes with people that she went into a career in the law because it was less competitive than one in music. Looking back, however, it has been no less satisfying. “I heard Justice Sonia Sotomayor speak recently,” said Laura, “and she said that if you’re a lawyer and you’re not happy, it must be your own attitude standing in your way…”

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Compassion and Action in the Face of an Epidemic

One day in 1983, Carl Wolf, along with his colleagues in BALIF, made crucial notes on a legal pad: the names of attorneys who would be willing to volunteer their services to young men dying of a terrible new disease. Thirty years later, those names have expanded to more than 700 attorneys around the Bay Area who volunteer to help people with HIV…and Carl Wolf is still among them.

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A Calling for a Legal Services Career

Janet Seldon has been involved with volunteer legal services programs for her entire professional career. But ALRP still stands out for her. “ALRP is not like any other project I’ve worked on,” she said. “I think it’s because of the toll that the AIDS epidemic took, and how we all helped each other get through it.” Janet’s path to becoming a lawyer at the epicenter of San Francisco’s AIDS epidemic was accidental.

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Privileged to Live a Life of Public Service

Ora Prochovnick moved to San Francisco for law school at New College of California with the intention of becoming a public interest lawyer, and upon graduation in 1984 was plunged straight into the AIDS crisis. “It wasn’t my plan to move to San Francisco to deal with a plague in my community,” she said, “but it was there and it was just so present in my life—there were so many young men dying around me. It wasn’t an option to do nothing.”

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