Justice & Diversity Center’s Consumer Project Volunteer Lisa Espada Helps Those in Financial Crisis

L-EspadaThe Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) is pleased to recognize Lisa J. Espada as our Volunteer of the Month for July 2013.  Espada has been volunteering with JDC’s Consumer Project for two years consulting with clients at the Consumer Debt Defense and Education Clinics as well as taking on full-scope representation matters.

The Consumer Project provides legal advice, assistance and limited scope or full-scope representation to low-income consumers facing debt collection and related issues.  Espada is also a dedicated volunteer at  JDC’s Legal Advice and Referral Clinics providing much needed advice to consumers facing debt collection and related issues.

Although she grew up on the East Coast, Espada has lived in San Francisco for 27 years and thinks of herself as a San Francisco native.  For most of her career, Espada worked at law firms doing civil litigation, never finding time to devote to pro bono legal work, or any volunteer work.  In 2011, she opened her own practice focusing on consumer bankruptcy cases, consumer debt collection defense, and other civil litigation.  Once she started her own firm, she had much more flexibility, and started looking for pro bono opportunities.

Regarding her volunteer work, Espada says, “It’s rewarding to help people navigate the legal system with more confidence and less fear.  I think that providing a detailed explanation of a legal process can help reduce the stress that a person is experiencing.”

She also finds that volunteering with the Consumer Project allows her to help people with a variety of consumer debt issues which ultimately makes her a better lawyer in her own practice.

Espada was drawn to the consumer bankruptcy practice area because she knew she could help people who are experiencing economic stress due to unemployment, illness, disability, or other forces that may be beyond their control.  She enjoys volunteering but finds, “It’s also challenging to witness the reality that most low-income people cannot hire attorneys, and there are not enough pro bono resources for all the people who need that help.”

Please join Lisa Espada and the Justice & Diversity Center in providing those much needed pro bono legal services.  If you would like more information on the JDC’s Consumer Project, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at probono@sfbar.org.

About the author:

Marie Appel is the Supervising Attorney, Consumer Project and Medical-Legal Project, at the Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco