Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc.

Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc.
613 Abbott Street
Detroit, MI 48226

September 27, 2012

Legal Aid and Defender conducts workshop on small claims court in Sterling Heights

DETROIT – Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc. (LAD) conducted the third of its three summer workshops on small claims court Sept. 18 at Sterling Heights Public Library.

Small claims court is a judicial process in district courts for settling money disputes of $5,000 or less. LAD’s workshops are designed to teach residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties how to represent themselves in the courts and collect money judgments.

Kelly L. Bidelman, managing attorney of LAD’s Macomb County office in Mount Clemens, conducted the workshop. In her introductory remarks, she pointed out that parties who bring suit in small claims court waive their rights to be represented by an attorney, to a jury trial and to appeal judges’ decisions.

Guest speaker Craig Pappas, executive director of The Resolution Center, Mount Clemens (, explained how attendees could use mediation as an alternative to filing suit in small claims court. Automatic mediation is a requirement in several Macomb County jurisdictions, he said. Small claims actions comprise between 45 and 50 percent of The Resolution Center’s annual caseload, he said.

LAD is the largest provider of free civil legal services to low-income residents of Michigan. It serves metropolitan Detroit through its offices in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. It also represents criminal defendants in Wayne County and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Including brief consultations and comprehensive legal services, the public law firm handles some 15,000 legal matters yearly.

“We work with clients in a comprehensive manner, so that as we solve their legal problems, we help solve other problems as well,” LAD President and CEO Deierdre L. Weir said. “We help people rebuild their lives and help families stay together.”

Anyone seeking legal services can call (877) 964-4700 or visit


Kelly Bidelman (left), managing attorney of Legal Aid and Defender Association’s Macomb County office, conducts the workshop on small claims court at Sterling Heights Public Library with Craig Pappas, executive director of The Resolution Center, Mount Clemens. (Photo by John Meiu)

Roger Lennert
Legal Aid and Defender Association
(313) 967-5607
(313) 587-3077 cell

David Adrian
Adrian & Associates
(248) 322-9226
(248) 515-4607 cell