Pro bono is at the heart of the work The Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) does. LASC offers two categories of limited service pro bono opportunities for Central Ohio attorneys:
Brief Advice and Referral Clinics
Monthly Brief Advice and Referral Clinics (located at local "Interfaith" sites)
In partnership with the Columbus Bar Association, LASC sponsors legal clinics for low-income individuals throughout Columbus and in Delaware. Attorney volunteers meet with individuals to analyze problems, identify community resources, and offer legal advice on a variety of topics.
Although many clinics are held at faith-based establishments, religious activity should be completely separate from any legal advice givien.
Interested volunteers are encouraged to fill out a Pro Bono Application, at which point they will receive a volunteer information packet and a list of the volunteer clinic coordinators for each our of eight sites. Please note that clinics are occassionally cancelled, so check the LASC Events Calendar for last-minute cancellations.
YWCA Family Center Brief Advice and Referral Clinic
In 2012, LASC partnered with the YWCA Family Center to start an on-site brief advice clinic. The YWCA Family Center is the only emergency family shelter in Columbus. Volunteer attorneys, paralegals, and law students from both OSU Mortiz and Capital University meet on-site with shelter residents who seek legal information and advice. The clinics are held on Tuesday evening every three weeks.
Adult Shelter Assistant Project (restarted in Summer 2013)
LASC is seeking volunteer attorneys willing to provide legal advice and information for residents of adult emergency shelters as part of the upcoming redevelopment of the Columbus Bar Association Homeless Project. Although we are still in the planning stages, it is expected that attorneys will be placed at a specific shelter and typically sign up for 1-2 months of activity per year, visiting designated shelters several times during the month.
Brief Service Clinics
Paralegal Association of Central Ohio (PACO) Wills Clinics
Through a collaboration with PACO, monthly clinics are held at low-income senior residential facilities (and sometimes at other senior sites), matching volunteer attorneys with law students and paralegals to help clients prepare and execute wills, durable powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, and living wills.
Bankruptcy Bypass Clinic
"Uncollectable" elderly and permanently disabled clients who contact LASC expressing a desire to end creditor harassment will be enrolled in a periodic clinic. Law students from OSU Moritz and Capital University will meet with clients to verify uncollectability and creditor information. After each clinic, LASC will then send letters to the clients' creditors, with the express purpose of stopping the creditor contact. Pro bono attorneys will supervise the students and answer questions as needed.