Legal Fees To Achieve Justice

"N" is my daughter in every way except by blood. We chose each other after meeting at church where she had just become a new member. At that time, she was living in a domestic violence shelter. Her two girls were living with their father, N's abuser, a prominant practicing attorney. While the girls were in his care there was an open investigation taking place by the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), due to reports received indicating that the girls might be in danger because of mistreatment by the father. The girls were subsequently removed from his care by the Children's Court on the recommendation of DCFS after a violent incident involving the girls. As a result they were placed in N's sole physical custody. Fortunately at that time they were provided with court-appointed attorneys who advocated successfully for N and the girls. Less than 6 months after the Children's Court order, the father-lawyer filed an action in Family Court against N seeking 50/50 custody of the girls, even though their eldest daughter refuses to see her father without a monitor present, an option awarded to her by Children's Court. N is now on her own to seek an attorney and is therefore responsible for all legal fees and costs. N is one of the smartest people I know, but she suffers with extreme dyslexia making her appear almost illiterate due to her difficulties with reading/writing. This makes it problematic, almost impossible for her to work since she is unable to pass timed tests. She has applied for over 25 positions, but the story is always the same. She has done house-cleaning, hairstyling for friends, and is now selling Avon, but none of these are income producing on the scale she needs to cover mounting legal fees and family expenses. She is a single parent and relies on public transportation. She has made many calls to find a pro bono lawyer, but was ultimately unsuccessful. She finally engaged a law firm who agreed to take her case on their lowest hourly rate, but of course, this is still way above her ability to pay without help. The attorneys are only doing the absolute minimum necessary, and refuse to do anything without payment up front. This is why I am hoping I can get your help for N. Any funds collected will need to come to me, because she has no credit, and cannot even open a bank checking or savings account. Please consider helping this mother, who acutely feels the responsibility of protecting the safety of her girls, and who is desperately trying to meet this challenge in the court system. Her adversary is a lawyer (father of the girls) and completely at home manipulating the court system to his advantage. He can, he has, and he will continue to try to regain physical custody of the girls. Neither of the girls want this and have expressed fear of the prospect of returning to their father's custody, even on a part time basis, in light of his abusive history. With the help of our church family, we have already paid lawyers in excess of $10,000. We are currently litigating this matter and need funds to go foward! The need is urgent as the next court date has already been set and we need to fees in advance. We must have adequate legal representation in order to protect my "daughter" and "grand-daughters"! Thank you for your consideration in trying to help us!
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Judith Smith 
Los Angeles, CA
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