Our Stories

San Pedro Partnership Is 'Crucial' for Residents in Need of Legal Help

Toberman Neighborhood Center and Public CounselLos Angeles is a major metropolis, but Public Counsel’s partnership with Toberman Neighborhood Center shows how we take a small-town approach to people in need of good legal help.

Situated in San Pedro, Toberman is a lifeline for families and elderly residents who often can’t afford to pay for an attorney. That’s where Public Counsel comes in, with an on-site legal clinic assisting people with a range of legal areas.

Julia Guerrero got into trouble when a lender alleged she offered to help her granddaughter apply for a student loan. When her granddaughter defaulted, lenders started to target Ms. Guerrero, who lived alone on a fixed income. “I got letters asking for money in 30 days,” she recalled – money she didn’t have.

Through Public Counsel staff attorney Alma Stankovic and the law firm of Jenner & Block she was able to clear the debt and stop the threatening letters.

“You can’t imagine how I feel,” Ms. Guerrero said of the attorneys who helped her. “I feel for them something more than appreciation – like they are family.”

“Ms. Guerrero faced a substantial judgment that threatened her livelihood,” said Ethan Glickstein, Jennifer Wagman and Julie Shepard of Jenner & Block. “We developed a great relationship with Ms. Guerrero and feel that we, in the end, helped a true friend.”

“We’re in an area where there’s a lot of abuse in housing, consumer law, and other areas, so giving people legal assistance is crucial for us,” said Christine Jordan, program manager at Toberman Neighborhood Center. “I know that if people are paying an attorney, then something else is not getting paid at home.”

“We are reaching a population that would not have access to legal help if Public Counsel wasn’t here,” she said.

Public Counsel’s partnership with Toberman Neighborhood Center is just one of the ways we are working to prevent homelessness and fight for the rights of consumers, the elderly, and families. Find out more about our legal clinics in San Pedro, Hollywood, and downtown Los Angeles.

Visit our Homelessness Prevention page and click the “seminars and clinics” tab to learn more.

Photo: Julia Guerrero with Public Counsel's Alma Stankovic at Toberman Neighborhood Center.