Alabama State Bar
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Jaffe S. Pickett

Legal Services Alabama
207 Montgomery Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
(334)223-0232 / jpickett@alsp.org

Jaffe graduated from Paul M. Herbert Law Center, LSU with a Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Civil Law Studies in 2002 where she was secretary for Unification of Diversity under the Law. She also graduated cum laude from Troy State University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Political Science in 1999. Working in many positions at Legal Services Alabama, she is now the Director of Training for Legal Services Alabama.

Jaffe was a member of Gama Beta Phi Honor Society, Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Leadership Roundtable, and Debate and Forensics Team. Jaffee was on the Dean’s List from 1997-1999. Her community involvement includes contributing editor to Weekend Pass magazine, volunteering as an ASB Young Lawyers Section Minority Law Day Panelist, Tutor/Mentor for Cedar Street Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity, Pike County Retirement Center, and Central Alabama Laubuach Literacy Council. She is also a Board Member for Central Alabama AIDS Resource & Advocacy Center.

The person who recommended Jaffe said, “I first met Jaffe in 2005, when I worked for Legal Services Alabama as an Elder Law attorney and helped select her as my replacement when I was changing assignments. Jaffe was an obvious choice. Not only was she smart, well educated, and highly professional but her passion for serving others was the cord that tied the whole package together. As an Elder Law attorney for LSA, her office was located offsite at the Central Alabama Aging Consortium, where she saw hundreds of clients (her assigned duty), but additionally made herself available to assist the agency’s social workers and ombudsmen, and was an oft sought after counselor to the staff there. When LSA decided to add Elder Law as a specific practice area, it instituted a state-wide, toll-free Elder Law Hotline and Jaffe again was the obvious choice above many, to supervise that program. Jaffe never lost sight of her passion to serve others and she used that passion to encourage subordinates, coworkers and even her supervisors. She has an infectious optimism that transcends even the most desperate circumstances, whether they be the legal problems of the clients or the daily challenges of managing a law firm.”

In her own words Jaffe, said, “I have always heard that good leaders are good followers first. I would add that great leaders are those who value service before self. Effective leadership is not common and does not come without sacrifice, but for me ignoring my call to service has never been an option. Booker T. Washington once said, ‘I think I began learning long ago that those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.’ The rewards of service are always multiplied because what is done to help others is always returned. I respectfully request to be selected on the Class 9 Leadership Forum because I have always answered yes to my call to serve. I do not view service as a task, although at times choosing to lead has not always been easy. To stand up when others chose to sit, to speak up when others are quiet and most importantly to always lead by example. My road to leadership started by listening well, following the direction of many great mentors early on, but most importantly by setting a great example for my peers, mentees and later those I chose to lead to success. I started at Legal Services as an advocate for seniors servicing Elmore, Autauga and Montgomery counties through a grant provided by the Alabama Department of Senior Services. I did a lot of ‘community lawyering’ through educational clinics to put senior citizens on alert of scams and fraudulent activity in their communities. I also focused on empowering seniors by making them aware of their rights in areas of housing, probate and consumer law. I developed material to make seniors aware of construction scams and FEMA fraud, which was rampant at the time. I also provided weekly education and outreach to Senior Centers and nursing homes across the state on elder rights issues. I coordinated a living wills clinic with the Alabama State Bar’s Volunteer Lawyer Program that served as a model for Elder Law attorney outreach and successful partnerships with the VLP across the state. The clinic was covered in the Alabama Addendum due to the large turnout of seniors who received education and hands on service. I later provided a how-to guide on the ‘steps to planning a successful clinic’ for new attorneys starting at LSA to encourage effective outreach. I often went to nursing homes to handle an abuse or neglect issue and after sometimes meeting with residents and then spending hours educating administrators and staff, I would leave out exhausted wondering if my advocacy really made a difference and if this was truly my calling. My answer was always yes, and it still is today. My passion for Elder Rights advocacy set the stage for training other Elder Law attorneys in Alabama. I served more than 900 seniors in addition to my community education and outreach as an Elder Law staff attorney leading to my appointment in 2007 as Director of Alabama’s first Elder Law Hotline. It was a major success from our initial launch in rural areas throughout the state. I learned to do a lot with little having only one dedicated paralegal to assist me and I set out to offer meaningful service to every senior calling for civil assistance. This was not easy, but after developing such a passion for elder rights advocacy as a staff attorney I knew it was possible. I started to build on partnerships I made as a staff attorney and formed partnership with agencies across the state providing elder services. I then developed an extensive referral guide in the weeks leading up to our launch. The referral later served as a blueprint for many other programs starting elder hotlines or help lines. In 2008 I was invited to lecture on Estate Planning for Professor Jeffrey Baker, at the Elder Law clinic at Jones School of Law in Montgomery. I wanted to offer the students hands-on experience after completing my lectures, so I initiated a student service program with the help of Professor Baker. Students worked with LSA attorneys and provided hands-on services to seniors in Montgomery. Students were able to get this valuable hands-on experience by drafting simple wills, living wills and power of attorneys. The program was very successful and two of the students from the Elder Law clinic interned and later became staff attorneys at LSA! As news of the success of the helpline spread, other states like Mississippi contacted me for assistance on starting their own helpline. I dedicated an extensive amount of time working with the Mississippi fire department because at the time there was no Senior Services Agency or Department of Mississippi. The fire departments received most of the emergency calls from senior and their caregivers so initially a group of firemen in Mississippi who were instrumental in applying for Elder Law funding from AOA. I was contacted because they wished to model their program after LSA’s Elder Helpline. I used the opportunity as one to encourage and motivate them through what I knew to be a difficult time, but more importantly to listen to the needs and obstacles they faced. Mississippi started their helpline without the assistance of a Department of Senior Services. I realized through this process that every quality that I’ve known as a good leader to possess I had begun to develop. My success meant very little if I could not assist others. In 2008 I assisted more clients, over 600, in one year than any attorney at LSA. I was selected as LSA’s Employee of the Year. I was promoted to Call Center Director in 2010 and I led one of the most successful Hotline Networks in the country at LSA. In my first year as director, we assisted more people in the call center than we had since the call center’s inception. We broadened access to legal services through our online program. The call center became a model for many states including Montana Legal Services and Nebraska Legal Services. I held an online training for both of these programs on online application start-ups in June 2011. I led a statewide staff and rose to the challenges of being on the ‘front line’ with the ability and technology to provide immediate assistance to individuals and families impacted by the 2010 BP Oil Spill as well as the tornados that devastated so many in our state in 2011. LSA received funding to provide services that many other firms could not provide. As Call Center Director, I also served families and helped, on numerous occasions, to guide domestic violence victims to immediate safety. Being on the front-line of service is not easy, but again, I chose to lead by example. I always remind my staff that every caller has a face, every voice a need. Every cry for help needs an answer. I answered the need with a resounding Yes to service! My success as director allowed me the opportunity to inspire and motivate all of the attorneys and staff at LSA and I have continued my goal of inspiring and motivating advocates program-wide. I ensure that all staff is equipped with the tools necessary to provide quality and effective advocacy for our clients. I also ensure all staff has the necessary tools to provide effective education and outreach. I design and provide staff with training guides including one of the most popular, a Mortgage Scam prevention outreach toolkit. I have also partnered with Wallace State Community College this year to increase our training capabilities and LSA is now equipped to provide ‘live’ trainings across the state through distant learning classroom stations. We offered our first webinar series training in July of 2012 to staff and private attorneys through this partnership. This partnership also will make my goal of expanding our in-house substantive training to volunteer attorneys throughout the state; I recently partnered with the Madison County VLP program and assisted their director in planning consumer law training for the volunteer attorneys in Madison County. I strongly believe that with proper legal training every advocate can reach their potential. I have demonstrated an ability to adapt to the changes that come with a challenging work environment by leading by example and making service to clients a priority during my seven years at LSA. I have brought new and innovative ideas to expand training at LSA. I will continue to demonstrate my dedication to serving those in need and encouraging, motivating and providing other attorneys with the tools to do the same. The work of a public service lawyer goes beyond the boundaries of our offices. We are educating, we are empowering and at LSA, we are chipping away at the crippling weight of poverty one day at a time. We have a special calling. It is not a career crowned with financial fame or many acknowledgements but as I continue to answer yes to my call to service, I strive for excellence because I lead by example. I hope to guide and train new attorneys motivating them to reach their full potential as so many have done for me throughout my career. I hope to lead our next generation of attorneys, paving the way for those who would choose a career in public service law.”