SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 15

MONTGOMERYBAR.ORG

LASP's consumer debt pilot
project seeks pro bono attorneys
By Marion Hoffman Fraley, Legal Aid of Southeastern PA

I

n a year-long pilot project in
Montgomery County, Legal Aid
of Southeastern PA (LASP) is
exploring ways to protect low-income
consumers from receiving summary
judgments against them for debts
that they do not owe. Funded by a
grant from the American College of
Bankruptcy Foundation, LASP's project
uses a combination of community legal
education and increased involvement
of pro bono volunteers to assist lowincome consumers. If successful and
effective, the idea is to share this
approach to be replicated elsewhere.
"The problem is the number
of people being served for credit card debt in the Court of
Common Pleas and elsewhere," explained LASP staff attorney
Morgan Kay Palermo. The notices arrive in the mail without
clear instructions. "Customers don't know how to respond and
are getting judgments entered against them." At stake: Lowincome families without access to legal help can lose a car, get a
lien against their home, or have their credit record damaged. The
financial blow can aggravate poverty and lead to homelessness.

Initially, the focus has been
on outreach to the low-income
community, Palermo said. LASP'S
presentations educate county residents
on what the debt collection notices
mean, steps they can take to address
them and, most importantly, the
danger of ignoring them. To date,
Laurel House and Advanced Senior
Living in Lansdale, among others,
have hosted LASP's outreach sessions.
"It isn't a cure-all, but it's about giving
customers a fighting chance, and gives
us and pro bono attorneys a chance to
evaluate to see if a defense is available,
vs. having a judgment against them,"
she said.
LASP is recruiting pro bono attorneys to help in the design
and implementation of this legal assistance program. Training
will be provided at an upcoming CLE at Montgomery Bar
Association in May or June. Attorney volunteers will be asked
to provide limited legal aid to consumers facing debt issues
to help them navigate through the legal process. Pro bono
attorneys interested in more information about assisting with
this effort can contact Morgan at 610-275-5400 x124 or
mpalermo@lasp.org.

SPRING 2018 15


https://montgomerybar.org/

SIDEBAR Spring 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SIDEBAR Spring 2018

SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 1
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 2
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 3
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 4
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 5
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 6
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 7
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 8
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 9
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 10
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 11
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 12
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 13
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 14
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 15
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 16
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 17
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 18
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 19
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 20
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 21
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 22
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 23
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 24
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 25
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 26
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 27
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 28
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 29
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 30
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 31
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 32
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 33
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 34
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 35
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 36
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 37
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 38
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 39
SIDEBAR Spring 2018 - 40
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/MontgomeryBarAssociation/SIDEBARSpring2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/MontgomeryBarAssociation/SIDEBARWinter2019-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/MontgomeryBarAssociation/SIDEBARFall2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/MontgomeryBarAssociation/SIDEBARSummer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/MontgomeryBarAssociation/SIDEBARSpring2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/MontgomeryBarAssociation/SIDEBARWinter2018-19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/MontgomeryBarAssociation/SIDEBARFall2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/MontgomeryBarAssociation/SIDEBARSummer2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/MontgomeryBarAssociation/LRSINSIGHT
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/MontgomeryBarAssociation/SIDEBARSpring2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/MontgomeryBarAssociation/SIDEBARWinter2017-18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/MontgomeryBarAssociation/SIDEBARSummer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/MontgomeryBarAssociation/SIDEBARSpring2017
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com