Haight Brown Provides Pro Bono Legal Help to San Francisco Community Land Trust

haight-brownThe Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) is pleased to spotlight Ted Handel and Steven Cvitanovic, both partners of Haight Brown & Bonesteel, as our October volunteers of the month.  Handel and Cvitanovic provided pro bono real estate law services to the San Francisco Community Land Trust (SFCLT), which acquires buildings and converts them into affordable housing that low- to moderate-income San Francisco residents own and control.

SFCLT needed to decide whether to form a limited liability company (LLC) to manage recently acquired property.  Handel and Cvitanovic gave SFCLT legal advice to help it weigh whether it should create an LLC, and whether it could shoulder the ongoing expenses.  SFCLT is currently on track to develop the property into affordable housing.

Handel and Cvitanovic volunteered to help SFCLT through JDC’s Community Organization Representation Project (CORP). CORP provides pro bono transactional legal services to nonprofit organizations that serve low-income communities.  CORP has had an ongoing relationship with SFCLT since helping it incorporate and obtain tax-exempt status in 2003.

Handel’s background in public service, beginning 40 years ago when he worked for a Los Angeles city councilmember, has instilled in him an ethos of community service, “I remember standing in a building that I helped develop ten years ago and thinking I contributed to creating a space that is decent and livable – this is why I find housing work so satisfying.  It is very rewarding to be able to help affordable housing organizations like SFCLT.”

Cvitanovic chairs Haight Brown’s Pro Bono Committee and serves on JDC’s Board of Directors.  He recognizes that many nonprofits like SFCLT cannot afford quality legal assistance.  He firmly believes in the mantra, “If not me, then who.  If not now, then when?” which motivates him to do pro bono work.
To learn more about CORP, visit www.sfbar.org/corp or email probono@sfbar.org.

About the author:

Doan Nguyen is the CORP Staff Attorney for the Justice & Diversity Cente rof The Bar Association of San Francisco