Choate Secures Pro Bono Victory
| January 25, 2017
“Everyone should be able to access justice, irrespective of economic status. Pro bono work is part of our contribution and obligation to the community to make sure that our most vulnerable members can have their voices heard.” – Genevieve Aguilar Reardon, Associate, Choate Hall & Stewart
Genevieve Aguilar Reardon, an associate at Choate Hall & Stewart, first met Miguel* at a Legal Clinic for the Homeless at Pine Street Inn.
Miguel was living in low-income housing and had fallen behind on his rent, causing his landlord to issue an eviction notice. By the time Miguel, an immigrant whose primary language is Portuguese Creole, was able to find someone to translate the notice for him and figure out his next steps, the court date for the eviction hearing had passed. Because he hadn’t shown up in court, his landlord obtained a default judgment that enabled him to move forward with the eviction process.
At the clinic, Miguel told Genevieve he was afraid he was going to be evicted at any moment. He had nowhere to go and shelters around the city were packed due to sub-zero temperatures and an impending snowstorm.
Immediately following the clinic, Genevieve contacted Miguel’s landlord’s attorney and negotiated a payment plan. The landlord also agreed to rescind the eviction notice and withdraw the default judgment. A week later, Genevieve, Miguel, and Katie Todd (another Choate associate) headed to housing court, where a magistrate judge signed off on the new agreement.
Miguel was very happy with the outcome of his case and has only one monthly payment left before he completely pays off his debt to his landlord.
Genevieve would like to thank attorneys Dick Bauer, Of-Counsel at the Lawyers Clearinghouse, and Eloise Lawrence, of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, for their advice and guidance during this case.
* Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual.