Virginia legal aid programs are lucky to have private lawyers who donate their time, talent, and resources to help us represent our low-income clients. Volunteer lawyers donated over 15,000 hours serving legal aid clients last year. Sometimes private lawyers go above and beyond to support the work of Virginia legal aid programs.
Kristi Kelly of Kelly and Crandall and Len Bennett of Consumer Litigation Associates recently donated the attorney fees they earned with hundreds of hours of work successfully prosecuting a class action lawsuit against a credit reporting agency. Both Kelly and Crandall and Consumer Litigation Associates decided to contribute all of the attorneys’ fees awarded in this case to the Legal Aid Justice Center to advocate for consumer rights for immigrants. As they stated in the court documents: “both Plaintiffs in this case were immigrants, facing unique challenges in this country. Counsel felt it appropriate to honor their struggle and help those immigrants now facing immediate new struggles.”
Judge Brinkem approved the class action settlement and was impressed by this donation of attorney fees: “I’m extremely impressed by first of all the modest percentage of the total amount that is for attorneys’ fees, and even more impressed by the fact that you’re donating your attorneys’ fees to the Legal Aid Justice Center, which I think is a very unusual result and a very good one.”
The amount of the fees? $193,930. This will be enough for the Legal Aid Justice Center to hire a new attorney for two years which is fantastic news for low-income Virginians needing legal assistance.
Both Kristi and Len donate their time to serve as members of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Poverty Law Center. Donating their fees is just the latest example of their generous support and commitment to legal aid in Virginia.