Month: September 2016

Legal Aid Services offers assistance to residents in need of expert opinions in civil cases | News

It isn’t hopeless. That is the biggest misconception Legal Aid attorney Holly Lantagne said potential clients have about their legal cases, specifically involving foreclosures.

Lantagne is managing attorney at Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma’s Norman office, which covers Cleveland, Hughes, McClain, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties and has been open for about 30 years.

“I think what keeps a lot of low-income people from seeking help is thinking that nothing can be done,” Lantagne said. “People should call and apply. They can get advice, even if their situation is hopeless.”

She said in the case of a foreclosure, people often think if they have missed a payment, there isn’t anything they can do, but Lantagne said there are many options, from finding a payment system to helping with the foreclosure process.

Foreclosures are not the only legal issues Legal Aid covers. Housing, taxes, debit and family law are a few legal issues clients can get help with from Legal Aid.

The majority of their cases involve family law, with issues like divorces, guardianship and paternity suites.

“We don’t do criminal law,” Lantagne said.

Lantagne said five attorneys are in the Norman Legal Aid office, with two attorneys working only on disaster relief related to the May 2013 tornado in Moore.

Funding from the United Way of Norman pays almost the entire salary of one of the remaining three attorneys.

These three attorneys have covered 532 cases in Norman this year; 46 of the clients were seniors.

“That’s a huge number of cases for just three attorneys,” Lantagne said.

Lantagne said without funding from the United Way of Norman, they would not be able to support three full-time attorneys.

“The number of clients we could serve would drastically decrease,” Lantagne said.



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