11:58, December 07 344 0 abajournal.com

2017-12-07 11:58:04
Lawyer works and sleeps in shack to raise money for her nonprofit law firm

A Detroit lawyer who founded a nonprofit law firm to help the poor is working and sleeping in a makeshift shack until she raises at least $18,500 on a GoFundMe page, with the aim of helping more clients.

Lawyer Lisa Walinske has a home, but she appears to be homeless during the “campout for justice,” the Detroit Free Press reports. A video by the newspaper is here.

“We need money to pay a staff person to coordinate things, so we can help more people,” Walinske tells the newspaper. “We want to increase our outreach efforts, and we also need to pay the heating bills for several of our community properties where we’re housing people with no place to stay.”

Walinske had “a conventional career in suburban Detroit” as a partner in a well-established law firm before she founded her own firm, called ReDetroit East Community Law Center. Two partners are working with her.

Clients’ fees are based on a sliding scale. The law firm also takes on inmate cases, receiving fees from county governments of about $350 to $400 per case. “So we lose money on each case,” Walinske said. “We spend more than that on gas and postage.”

Walinske hopes eventually to receive $30,000 in donations. Another aim, she said, is “to get people thinking about what it means to be poor, and outside right now.”

As of late Thursday morning, Walinske has raised $4,725.