On the first Tuesday of each month, CVLS, the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI), and Legal Prep Charter Academy work together to bring access to justice to low-income clients in the community. Volunteer attorneys interview potential clients and address their legal issues either by providing legal advice on the spot or by transitioning to direct representation.
After participating in a recent virtual Legal Prep clinic, Kirkland & Ellis transactional attorneys, Rebecca Hart and Sophie Daroff, offered to provide representation on a new guardianship case under the guidance of Kirkland litigation partner, Matt Regan. The CVLS client came to the clinic seeking guardianship of her wife, who had suffered a massive stroke in July 2021 that had caused significant speech and physical impairments.
Although the case started out as an uncontested matter, objections and cross-petitions were filed by outside counsel for other family members, and the matter set off on an entirely different course. A GAL was appointed, the objectors sought a change of judge, and months of contentious hearings soon followed. The volunteers fought to establish temporary guardianship while the case was pending in order to allow the client to negotiate a litigation settlement arising out of her wife’s medical care before the statute of limitations expired on the claim.
All of these disputes culminated in a lengthy pre-trial hearing to seek an agreed resolution. Yet even as the terms of a resolution were being negotiated, another emergency hearing was requested by the GAL based on new difficulties that had arisen between the parties. Ultimately, notwithstanding these challenges, an agreed resolution was reached short of trial. The Kirkland attorneys negotiated a favorable settlement agreement, after which the Court granted the client plenary guardianship!