Bank of America lawyer returns home

CHARLOTTE · May 3, 2019 — Last week, our Charlotte office bid farewell to Brett Shockley, an assistant general counsel with Bank of America who spent the last three months serving as a member of our housing team, representing tenants in small claims and district courts.

In one of his cases, Brett saved his client from eviction and went the extra mile to save his client’s incredibly valuable housing subsidy. The subsidy had been terminated due to the client’s violation of a minor and technical rule involving the subsidy program’s administrative procedures.

During their first consultation, Brett realized that his client had a cognitive disability and could not read and write well, which explained why his client broke the program’s rules: his client simply didn’t understand them.

Brett stopped the eviction and, citing his client’s cognitive and literacy challenges, asked the landlord and housing authority to make a reasonable accommodation and reinstate the housing subsidy. The housing authority required a letter from the Social Security Administration to grant the reasonable accommodation request.

Brett’s client was not able to get the letter on his own, and they were on a time crunch. Brett drove his client to the social security office and waited with his client for hours to get the letter, which saved his client’s subsidy.

“That’s just one example of the dedication Brett showed to our clients while he was here,” said Isaac Sturgill, housing supervisor in our Charlotte office.

“The effort he put into helping his client moved me,” Isaac said. “He’s been an amazing asset. He handled 24 cases while he was here, which is a lot for someone who came in with minimal experience in landlord-tenant law.”

“Working with Legal Aid has been an eye-opening experience,” Brett said. “I have a much greater appreciation of the struggles that low-income people face on a day-to-day basis.”

Brett came to Legal Aid thanks to Bank of America’s participation in Charlotte Triage, an effort by Charlotte businesses and law firms to help address critical legal problems confronting city residents.

David Leitch, Bank of America’s general counsel, spoke at the Charlotte Triage launch event last year.

“At a meeting before the kickoff, I asked him to lend us an attorney for a few months,” said Tommy Holderness, a supervising attorney in our Charlotte office. “And he did!”

“We are incredibly grateful to Brett for his service, to Bank of America for ‘lending’ him to us, and to all the other partners in Charlotte Triage: Duke Energy, McGuireWoods and Wells Fargo,” said Cindy Patton, managing attorney of our Charlotte office.

“We look forward to finding other creative ways to work with community partners to address the legal needs of residents of our community who cannot afford to hire attorneys,” Patton added.

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