Providing high-quality legal assistance & equal access to justice to low-income people...

Legal Advocacy for Adults with

Mental Illness Program

worried_woman2B.jpgMany low-income adults with mental illness have successfully entered community-based social service and treatment programs. However, even those who are receiving treatment and/or services still face barriers to recovery and stability.

LSEM's new program, Legal Advocacy for Adults with Mental Illness (LAAMI), partners with agencies providing services to adult residents of St. Louis City with mental illness (as diagnosed by a clinician) and their clients to identify civil legal issues that are hampering their clients’ progress on the road to stability and recovery. LAAMI then provides FREE legal representation to attempt to solve the client’s legal problem.

 Because legal representation can improve a client’s ability to recover in a wide array of areas, LAAMI takes a holistic approach in its partnership with providers and clients. LAAMI provides a “general practitioner” attorney to represent clients in a wide range of legal matters, and an experienced social work practicum student (closely supervised by Legal Service’s Director of Social Work and the attorney) to assist with case management.

LAAMI’s broad focus allows it to solve a wide variety of legal issues that adults with mental illness might encounter.

 Examples of legal issues LAAMI may be able to resolve include:

  • An client is unable to obtain affordable housing because of
    • Disability discrimination
    • Revocation/Denial of public housing assistance
    • Foreclosure
    • Eviction
    • Failure by landlord to maintain the premises
  • A client is unable to access public benefits including
    • TANF
    • Nutrition Assistance
    • Medicare/Medicaid
    • SSI/Disability Income
  • A client is experiencing financial or mental-health instability because of consumer issues such as
    • Predatory lending
    • Auto-loan scams
    • Excessive and/or “zombie” debt
    • Unfair debt collection practices
  • A client is facing unlawful disability discrimination in any area of life including
    • Employment
    • Education
    • Access to public accommodations
    • Housing
  • A client requires representation in family court because of
    • Potential termination of parental rights
    • Changes in parental or custodial rights
  • A client needs help planning for the future, including:
    • Granting powers of attorney, including healthcare powers of attorney
    • Healthcare advanced directives
  • A client requires assistance with immigration issues, including
    • Family reunification
    • Status questions
    • Human trafficking victimization
  • Other civil legal issues faced by adults with mental illness



  • Dan Underwood, Managing Attorney
  • Pat Mobley, Staff Attorney
  • Christina Brimm, Social Worker
  • Mary Anthony, Office Manager


Other Resources/Partner Agencies:

The Independence Center

Family Care Health Centers

Employment Connection

The Salvation Army

Places for People

Bi-Lingual International Assistant Services

Covenant House Missouri

City of St. Louis Department of Human Services – Jail Diversion Project


Funding for this program is provided by:

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