Medical Legal Project Volunteer Represents Low Income Senior Citizen

Misty Wright

Misty Wright

The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) is pleased to recognize Misty Wright, of Paul Hasting, as our Volunteer of the Month.
Wright took an appeal of a Cal-Fresh (formerly known as Food Stamps) determination through JDC’s Medical-Legal Project. The project, consistently supported by Paul Hastings, provides legal services to low-income patients at St. Mary’s Sister Philippa Health Center. The project addresses legal issues impacting patients’ lives so that the legal problems do not interfere with their healthcare and ultimate overall health.

Wright’s client, a senior citizen surviving on $900 a month from Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), was assessed a $2,084 overpayment entirely due to the county’s error. The client had received Cal-Fresh and SSI simultaneously, which is not permitted, but had no knowledge of this rule and disclosed both benefits during annual re-evaluations.

Wright filed the overpayment determination appeal, appeared with the client before an administrative law judge, and had the overpayment amount cut nearly in half. The case is still ongoing in an effort to have the amount further reduced given that it was not the client’s fault.

Wright believes volunteering is essential for attorneys as it presents a unique set of challenges in managing relationships with different kinds of clients and mastering different parts of the law. She finds it rewarding in an immediate, personal, impactful and emotionally fulfilling way, saying, “It’s amazing how making a difference in one person’s life can feel as momentous as achieving a multi-million dollar result for an institutional client. The human connection through direct legal services rounds out legal practice in a wonderful way.”

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Wright has loved the outdoor activities that a year of living in San Francisco offered. She enjoys dancing, Kentucky basketball, kickboxing and travel. Although Wright enjoyed private practice, she is beginning public service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Illinois, and will miss the Bay Area.

For more information about volunteering, email probono@sfbar.org.
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