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Loeb & Loeb Pro Bono Spotlight: Continued Support for Lawyers for Children

November 2017
Client Alerts/Reports

Loeb & Loeb has long been a supporter of Lawyers for Children, a nonprofit whose mission is to give children in foster care a voice and an advocate in the decisions that change their lives. Our late partner Seth Gelblum was a founding board member of LFC, and many of our attorneys continue to lend their time to represent children in court proceedings involving issues such as foster care placement, abuse, neglect, termination of parental rights, adoption, guardianship, paternity, custody and visitation.

Recently, several teams of Loeb attorneys worked with LFC on three separate appeals, advocating for four children in total.

Greg Schwed, Jerry Levine and Joel Ernst represented a 10-year-old boy in a case in which the boy’s biological father was seeking to reverse a trial court ruling denying him custody. Not only had the boy never lived with his father, the father could not provide a home for his son and frightened him to the point that the boy would see his father only if another adult was present. The appellate court rejected the father’s appeal, allowing the boy to stay with relatives who were providing him with a stable home, educational support, medical care and enrichment activities.

Linna Chen (assisted by Greg) also represented on appeal a 3-year-old girl who had been placed in foster care shortly after she was born. The young client’s mother had a demonstrable history of serious, untreated substance abuse, and had missed critical court hearings. The appellate court affirmed the trial judge’s ruling that the girl should remain with the foster family (where she was thriving), with the ultimate goal of adoption by the foster parents.

In the third case, Linna and Peter Pottier, with supervision from Chris Carbone, are representing two teenage sisters in an appeal of the trial court ruling on their custody arrangements. The sisters were living with their older biological brother because their mother could not take care of them, and they had a troubled relationship with the mother’s live-in partner.

The brother was seeking legal custody so that he could, among other things, make medical decisions and attend parent-teacher conferences for the girls. Although the mother supported the petition, the trial court denied it, holding that it did not believe the brother had the financial ability to support himself and his sisters since he had relied on financial assistance from the mother to do so prior to the case. During the hearings, the mother testified under oath that she would continue to financially support all three of her children if the brother was granted legal custody. The Loeb team has filed an appeal on the sisters’ behalf and is currently waiting for an oral argument date.