Alum earns fellowship to help victims of elder abuse

September 04, 2020

Archie Roundtree, Jr.Archie Roundtree, Jr. '18 has earned a spot in a new national program, launched by Equal Justice Works, to help victims of elder abuse and exploitation.

The Seattle University School of Law alumnus is one of 22 lawyers selected for the Elder Justice Program, a two-year fellowship that aims to address the gap in civil legal services for victims of elder abuse and exploitation, with a special emphasis on serving rural communities.

The fellows are hosted at legal services organizations across the country; Roundtree is based at Bet Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles, California. He'll work with seniors who are at risk of losing their homes or their home equity.

"The opportunity will allow me to fulfill my passion for social justice and to provide comprehensive legal services to senior homeowners who are victims of fraud and elder abuse," Roundtree said. Common examples of abuse are deed theft, home improvement scams, solar energy and home alarm system scams, and creditors that use unsecured debts to force the sale of a home.

"My goals for the program are to expand Bet Tzedek's capacity to provide victim-centered direct legal services in historically underserved areas of Los Angeles County, including in rural areas such as Palmdale and Lancaster."

He will also give presentations on elder abuse and fraud impacting homeowners, home equity protections, crime victims' rights, civil legal options, and social service resources.

Equal Justice Works, the nation's largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, reported that each year, millions of older Americans experience some form of abuse, neglect, and/or financial exploitation. Studies show that elder abuse — psychological, physical, and sexual abuse, as well as caregiver neglect, financial fraud, and exploitation — affects about 1 out of every 10 people age 60 and older.

"Through the Elder Justice Program, Archie will have the opportunity to help lower-income seniors preserve their homeownership, home equity, and financial independence," said Allie Yang-Green, senior program manager at Equal Justice Works. "We are proud to support Archie's efforts to protect the rights of elder Americans and look forward to seeing the impact of his work at Bet Tzedek Legal Services."

Dean Annette Clark '89 said Roundtree's dedication to underserved communities makes him a perfect fit for the fellowship.

"I applaud Equal Justice Works for its new initiative to serve this vulnerable population," she said. "And I can't think of anyone better suited than Archie to make it a success."