L.A. Family Law Attorney Tamila Jensen Urges Governor to Sign Bill for Affordable Legal Service

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San Fernando Valley Family and Estate Lawyer Tamila Jensen has written to Governor Schwarzenegger this week, asking him to sign Assembly Bill 590 into law. The bill, drafted by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, is intended to provide equal access to civil justice for low-income people in cases of fundamental need.

The main purpose of AB 590 is to fund and support collaborative efforts between the courts, legal services programs, local pro bono projects, and bar associations

Los Angeles County family law attorney Tamila C. Jensen has written a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger urging him to sign Assembly Bill 590, which will help the poor get access to domestic legal services. The governor has until midnight on October 11 to veto or sign AB 590.

Attorney Jensen is a strong advocate for equal access to legal representation. She is a proponent of Civil Gideon, inspired by the 1963 Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright. Writing for Valley Lawyer in April, Jensen explained that the Gideon ruling ordered the states to provide a lawyer for anyone facing a felony charge. However, Jensen noted, the 1981 Supreme Court ruled in the Lassiter case that "poor people do not have an absolute right to a publicly provided attorney when they face losing custody of a child to the state."

"The main purpose of AB 590 is to fund and support collaborative efforts between the courts, legal services programs, local pro bono projects, and bar associations," Jensen explained. The resulting pilot projects will improve and expand legal assistance for low-income members of the public in critical civil cases involving basic human needs, she said, such as family law and housing.

Jensen added that she is acutely aware of the legal struggles for low-income residents of Los Angeles County not only from her work as a family lawyer, but also as treasurer of Neighborhood Legal Services. "We have only 40 attorneys to serve one million eligible low income people," Jensen said. "I want Governor Schwarzenegger to sign AB 590 into law so that we can begin the hard work of providing legal protection to those who need it most."

About the Firm

Tamila C. Jensen is a native Californian who has practiced law for 34 years. She is also a law professor and published author on real estate law, as well as a variety of other legal topics. Jensen's practice is currently focused on elder law, estate planning, real estate and family law, including child custody. She also provides a wide range of other legal services to small businesses and individuals. Jensen recently finished a term as president of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association.

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