Veterans Team—What is a “Bad Discharge”?

By: Karin Nordstrom, Staff Attorney

A “Bad discharge” is the term used to describe any stigmatizing discharge from the military. When a veteran leaves the military, they are given a sheet of paper called a DD-214. This one small sheet is the most important document a veteran ever receives because it is their proof of service. A DD-214 includes their discharge status and reason for separation. There are six military discharge statuses: honorable, general under honorable conditions, other than honorable, bad conduct discharge, dishonorable, and uncharacterized. Anything below an honorable discharge can create serious consequences for the rest of a veteran’s life. It can affect housing, employment, and eligibility for veterans’ benefits programs, including treatment for service-connected disabilities. This snapshot on a DD-214 sometimes unfairly stigmatizes a veteran without telling the whole story.

History of “bad discharges”
We didn’t always have this system of discharges. During World War I, the military started using “blue discharges.” These discharges were considered neither honorable nor dishonorable but were just supposed to remove members that were not fit for battle. However, they were often used for discriminatory purposes, like removing LGBTQ servicemembers. Blue discharges were also disproportionately issued to black veterans. 22.3% off all blue discharges from December 1, 1941 – June 30, 1945 were given to Black veterans, while only 6.5% of the Army was Black at that time.

After reports of overuse of blue discharges, Congress added a discharge review board in the 1944 G.I. Bill to review blue discharges. Eventually the military discontinued blue discharges in May 1947. Congress replaced them with “general” and “undesirable.” The category “other than honorable” was added during the Vietnam War. During this time, LGBTQ and members of color disproportionately received these bad discharges. In 1972, the Department of Defense released a report finding disparate treatment of Black and Latino/Latinx servicemembers in military discipline procedures.

The Legacy Continues
Many veterans get a bad discharge for circumstances beyond their control. Trauma is an occupational hazard of the military from combat, humanitarian missions, high rates of sexual assault, discrimination, etc. Many posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms like a quick temper or self-medication with drugs can look like misconduct to a military command. Many veterans find themselves with a bad discharge for misconduct that is directly linked to a service-connected disability or for unfair targeting due to a minority status.

This problem is becoming even more important as the number of bad discharges increases. In 2015, the total number of living veterans with an OTH discharge reached 1.2 million people. Army discharges for misconduct have risen 25% since 2009, mirroring the percentage of wounded veterans. At the eight Army posts which house the most combat units, bad discharges have risen 67% since 2009.

What can you do about it?
First, do not stigmatize veterans with bad discharges. Accept that the circumstances of someone’s service and discharge are complicated. They cannot be reduced to a couple of words on a page. Second, if someone you know has received an unfair bad discharge, encourage them to apply for a discharge upgrade. The application process is long and can bring back a lot of trauma for the veteran. Support them in the process and submit character references and statements of support on their behalf. If you’re a Central Ohio veteran and would like to know more about applying for a discharge upgrade, visit the veterans’ page on our website.


Ohio State Legal Services Association Receives Federal Grant to Tackle Fair Housing Issues in Central Ohio

Columbus, OH—The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced the release of more than $13 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for 51 HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) agencies, including more than $317,000 to Ohio State Legal Services Association (OSLSA). HUD awarded the grant to OSLSA to expand fair housing services into Franklin County by partnering with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC).

The funding will enable organizations like OSLSA to conduct a range of fair housing enforcement, education, and outreach activities related to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Addressing discriminatory housing practices in underserved communities is one of the priorities of the grant. The funds are the first ARPA competitive grants in the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) that directly address the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on communities of color, lower-income communities, and other underserved and vulnerable populations.

“We know the effects of COVID have been especially devastating to communities of color and lower-income populations,” said Kristen Lewis, Advocacy Director for LASC’s sister organization, Southeastern Ohio Legal Services (SEOLS). “This funding will enable our Tenant Advocacy Project to screen 2,000 Franklin County Municipal Court eviction cases for fair housing violations. In cases where there is suspected housing discrimination, we will investigate and pursue claims.”

“This project substantially increases our capacity to screen for fair housing violations and take actions in cases with merit,” said Ben Horne, LASC’s Advocacy Director. “If there’s evidence of discrimination, we can file an administrative complaint at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission or HUD. And, when appropriate, we can pursue affirmative case litigation in state or federal court.”

Free Naturalization Clinic Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Are you a permanent resident interested in Naturalization?
We can help! Come to a Community Event to learn about the Naturalization process and discuss eligibility for free legal help.*

WEDNESDAY, September 8, 2021
Intake from 6-7:00 PM
Please bring your green card.

  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Center — 409 Industry Drive
  • Vineyard Community Center Youth Room — 6000 Cooper Road

Please call LASC with questions or to pre-register: 614-241-2001.

*To receive free legal help, you must have a gross household income below 200%
of the Federal Poverty Level. You will be asked to answer questions about your income and assets. Individuals who are over-income can still receive basic information.
*If you are eligible for Naturalization, we will schedule you for a follow-up appointment with an attorney to complete your application.

Download our flyer here.

The Office of Inspector General for the Legal Services Corporation Warns of Fraud Targeting Legal Services Clients

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has learned of a recent scam where someone tried to obtain money from a legal services client as a “retainer fee.” Legal services programs like LASC do not charge for services or collect “retainer fees.”

In the recent case, the client received a letter in the mail, purportedly from the legal services provider. The letter contained the provider’s logo at the top and instructed the client to remit payment to the grantee at a P.O. Box that is not affiliated with the organization. The client’s name, address, and case number were included within the letter. The organization believes the client information was gained through media exposure for the case, as well as through information that is publicly available.

The client contacted the program attorney assigned to her case, who informed her that the program does not charge for legal services. The attorney immediately informed the program Executive Director, the state’s Attorney General’s Office, and the local police department. Anyone receiving such a letter should call LASC as well as local and state authorities.


New CLE Opportunity: Ohio Record-Sealing Law Change and its Effect on Individuals Impacted by the Criminal Legal System

As part of its racial justice advocacy, Ohio State Legal Services Association (OSLSA), including its direct service civil legal aid programs the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) and Southeastern Ohio Legal Services (SEOLS), offers programming for low-income individuals throughout their collective 36 county service area who are navigating these barriers with the goal of obtaining a clean slate or second chance.

On May 17, OSLSA will be conducting a live interactive webinar on the recent changes in Ohio record sealing laws to ensure attorneys are properly equipped to aid low-income clients with record sealing applications. Through the program OSLSA also hopes to raise awareness on new record sealing eligibility criteria.

­­Application was made to the Supreme Court of Ohio for 2.75 hours of CLE credit for the program.

For more details and registration information, visit the link below.

Ohio Record-Sealing Law Change and its Effect on Individuals Impacted by the Criminal Legal System

Marion Eviction Prevention Grant

Thanks to United Way of North Central Ohio, the Marion Eviction Prevention Grant has been made possible. The grant was created to provide Marion residents with rental assistance throughout the pandemic. In order to qualify, you must be a Marion resident. The grant is available to people who have received a 3-day notice about non-payment of rent or utilities or has received court papers for non-payment of rent or utilities. Lastly, qualifying residents cannot be more than three months behind on rent payments.


“We are very thankful to United Way of North Central Ohio for help as we know many of our neighbors could use this critical assistance during the pandemic,” said Staci Thomas, an attorney in LASC’s Marion office.


Those who think they may qualify can reach out to legal aid for more information and assistance at 740-383-2161.

Identity Protection PINs and Filing Tax Returns

People who have identity Protection PINS will need to use them to electronically file their tax returns. If you are having trouble trying to e-file a tax return because you don’t know your Identity Protection PIN, you can contact the IRS for help. Check out our step-by-step guide for accessing your PIN HERE.

Need Health Insurance? Time is running out

Due to the pandemic, a special enrollment period for the federal exchange this spring has opened. The majority of states are on the federal exchange and use, which means individuals must sign up between February 15th and May 15th during this special enrollment period

If you – or someone you know – needs health insurance, the time to act is now: 

Visit right now to enroll in coverage. 

Here are a few fast facts about getting covered through 

  • Coverage could be cheaper than you think. Most people signing up for coverage on can find plans with monthly premiums for $50-$100 month thanks to financial help. Last year, nearly 8 out of 10 customers qualified for financial help to make their monthly premiums more affordable. 
  • Don’t forget: You must sign up by May 15. Enroll today. 
  • Free, expert help is available. Call 1-800-318-2596 for confidential assistance or visit or make a one-on-one appointment now.
  • plans offer coverage you can count on. Make sure you have comprehensive coverage that guarantees you have care when you need it the most by signing up for a plan.

Don’t miss your chance to get covered and tell your friends why they should, too!

UPCOMING CLE: Guide for Pro Bono Attorneys Providing Virtual Unbundled Legal Services Set for Feb. 5

 In 2020, to ensure low-income people could still access legal help and advice during the COVID-19 crisis, LASC and SEOLS created a new “Virtual Clinic” model, which engages our volunteer lawyers in phone advice clinics.

This live interactive webinar is designed to support attorneys volunteering with these virtual clinics. The LASC and SEOLS Pro Bono Team will provide volunteer attorneys new to virtual clinics with an overview of the procedures. For pro bono attorneys who volunteered at virtual clinics in 2020, the team will provide updates, additional resources, and tips on how to wrap up a virtual clinic consultation.


LASC Study Reveals Lack of Attention to Veterans’ Claims of Racism in Discharge Upgrades

A study conducted by the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) has found that the military boards charged with addressing veterans’ discharge upgrade requests grant claims on the basis of racial discrimination at a lower rate than their overall grant rate. The study, which looks at discharge upgrade decisions between 2010 and 2020, reveals that upgrades based on racial trauma occur in LESS THAN 17 PERCENT OF THE CASES—with most rates far lower.

Each branch of the military has two boards that decide discharge upgrade requests. Discharge Review Boards (DRB) handle petitions from Veterans within 15 years of their discharge. Veterans with an older discharge or who were denied by the DRB apply to a Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR).

“Unlike most administrative and civil courts that place statutes of limitation on a victim’s ability to seek redress from employee discrimination or harassment, members of the military have an almost unlimited timeframe to request a remedy,” says LASC Staff Attorney Karin Nordstrom, who conducted the study. “The military is in a unique position in that it could use its lenient timeframe policy to make amends for a long history of racial discrimination in the armed forces.”

“Given the overall low approval rate, it appears that military leaders have lost an opportunity for reconciliation of past injustices. The decisions that we reviewed from each branch of the military indicate an unwillingness to confront racial disparities,” Nordstrom says.

Report Findings: Percentage Grant Rate for Racial Trauma Claims


Discharge Review Boards: 11.54

Board for Correction of Military Records: 6.73

Navy & Marines

Discharge Review Boards: 0

Board for Correction of Naval Records: 0

Air Force

Discharge Review Boards: 5

Board for Correction of Military Records: 16.67


OSLSA Accepting Applications for Thomas W. Weeks Diverstiy, Equity, and Inclusion Fellowship

The Ohio State Legal Services Association (OSLSA), comprised of the Ohio Poverty Law Center, the Southeastern Ohio Legal Services Association, and the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, is pleased to make available the Thomas W. Weeks Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellowship. The Fellowship program enables students entering or enrolled in law school to receive funding to work during the Fall, Spring, and/or Summer for OSLSA.

More information is available here.

Relief from IRS Collection and COVID Hardships CLE planned

Learn the basics on how to help taxpayers deal with IRS debts and seek collection alternatives,
and what to do about some common Economic Income Payment issues. This program can be
a valuable addition to your practice, but also an easy way to provide pro bono assistance. Tax
representation lends itself well to remote work; no existing tax expertise is necessary.
Hundreds of taxpayers seeking help with federal tax issues go without legal services every year
due to a lack of resources. Many of these applicants that go unassisted are seeking
audience because they are threatened with collection action by the IRS. This is a frightening and
overwhelming experience for all of them. There is a great need for volunteers to become
involved in helping these applicants in whatever way possible. Income loss related to COVID is
increasing demand. Application was made to the Supreme Court of Ohio for 2.75 hours of CLE credit.

The live Interactive Webinar takes place on Thursday, October 29, 2020 from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Learn more about the CLE. 
Register for the CLE.


Debt Collection Defense Basics Webinar

This program is designed to prepare volunteer attorneys to represent low income individuals being sued for consumer debt, primarily collection cases brought by debt buyers.  This training will provide basic information on consumer law, practical information on legal defenses and strategy, and helpful forms and template pleadings. The training will also focus on identifying consumer law issues for low-income clients.

Read more about the training here.

Register for the training here.

Legal Aid to Offer Bankruptcy Nuts and Bolts CLE

This program is designed to prepare volunteer attorneys who provide critical representation to low income individuals in Chapter 7 Proceedings. The first part of the training will provide attorneys with an overview of bankruptcy practice, as well as Ohio State Legal Services Association’s bankruptcy pro bono project.  The second part of the training will focus on specific bankruptcy issues that arise when representing low-income clients, such as secured debt, leases, divorce and wage garnishment. This training is designed for attorneys new to practice or those who want to focus on issues low-income bankruptcy clients face in the bankruptcy process.

Read more about the training here.

Register for the training here.

FREE Criminal and Eviction Record Sealing & VIRTUAL Expungement Clinic Planned


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LASC Joins SCORE Ohio Coalition to Host CQE Webinar

LASC partnered with SCORE Ohio, the Ohio Poverty Law Center, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and others to host a webinar about fair-chance hiring and the Certificates of Qualification for Employment (CQE) process. CQEs help people with criminal records obtain employment by providing assurance to employers about the holder’s employability. A CQE holder has voluntarily gone through an intense review process by Ohio rehabilitation officials, a court of common pleas, and other officials.

The webinar brought together employers, CQE holders, social justice advocates and reentry experts who discussed the challenges of the reentry process and benefits of CQEs. Panelists talked candidly about the process and impact of second-chance hiring. “As a professional, we need to really openly accept and admit our biases around justice exposure,” said Craig Stewart, director of human resources for the Mid-Ohio Food Collective. “If we don’t do that it’s not going to be successful for us. We’ve got to put aside stereotypes and beliefs that we’ve been given that individuals who are justice exposed are not going to be successful in the workplace. I can assure everybody on this event today that that is not the case.”

CQE holder Joey Green shared that obtaining a CQE has empowered him to take on exciting professional and volunteer opportunities. “I feel like a load has been lifted off of me, that I can go in any direction I want to go in,” said Green, who works as a program coordinator for the Columbus Urban league’s Reentry program. “I’m confidant whatever door I knock on will open for me.”

The webinar concluded with a call to action for the employers in attendance to pledge to offer meaningful opportunities to individuals with justice exposure.

 A recording of the webinar is available here.

Legal Aid Offering CLE on Representing Low-income Tenants in Eviction Court

TUESDAY, MAY 19, 2020
12:00 PM—2:00 PM
Live Interactive Webinar
This Live Interactive Webinar is designed to prepare volunteer attorneys who provide critical representation to low-income tenants in eviction proceedings in Central and Southeastern Ohio.

Staff attorneys from the Legal Aid Society of Columbus will discuss the Tenant Advocacy Project (TAP). TAP participants in Franklin County volunteer for specific weekday clinics to provide first cause-only representation to tenants onsite at eviction court.

Attorneys interested in volunteering in any county in the service area of the Legal Aid Society of Columbus or Southeastern Ohio Legal Services are welcome to join us for this CLE.

Read more about the CLE.

As a result of changes made during COVID-19, volunteer help for TAP will be needed more than ever, as we prepare for eviction hearings restarting in June, 2020.

Our Office is Temporarily Not Accepting Walk-ins

Our office is temporarily not accepting walk-ins because of coronavirus concerns. This policy will be in effect until further notice.  We’re sorry for this inconvenience.  For time sensitive matters, please call 614-241-2001 or 1-888-246-4420 to determine whether additional help is available. We are adding services to address critical needs.

Continue to check this page for future updates.

Some Brief Advice Clinics Canceled Due to Coronavirus

Update: All Brief Advice Clinics cancelled until July 15.

Due to concerns related to the Coronavirus, Legal Aid made the difficult decision to cancel the following Brief Advice Clinics:

Crossroads UMC clinic on March 12
Grove City United Methodist on March 14
First English Lutheran Church on March 26
Broad Street United Methodist Church on April 2
Clean Slate Clinic on March 18

We are also canceling the VA Brief Advice Clinic at the Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center until April 16.

If you have a time sensitve legal issue that cannot wait until the next clinic, please call one of our intake lines–614-241-2001 or 1-888-246-4420–to determine whether additional help is available. We are adding services to address critical needs. Please refer back to this page often. We will be posting updates as the situation changes. 



Fresh Start Gala Celebrates Fifth Anniversary with Record Attendance

The legal community came together Wednesday evening at Porter Wright for LASC’s Fresh Start Gala, which raises funds for the Bankruptcy Pro Bono Program. During the event, LASC debuted a new video highlighting the work of the program that helps people keep their lights and heat on during winter, make strides toward reinstating their driver’s licenses and stop wage garnishments.

Paramount Advantage to exit Ohio Medicaid Managed Care Program in central/southeast region

Paramount has decided to scale back the service area of its Medicaid plan. The insurance company will cease to provide Paramount Advantage Medicaid in the central/southeast region of Ohio. It will continue to serve the west and northeast regions.

The central/southeast region includes these counties: Athens, Belmont, Coshocton, Crawford, Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Licking, Logan, Madison, Marion, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Union, Vinton and Washington.

For Paramount Medicaid members in the central/southeast region, they will choose a new Medicaid managed care plan for their health insurance in the next few months. Paramount will work closely with members and the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) to make sure members move seamlessly to their new plans in a way that is least disruptive for both members and providers. We are committed to keeping both members and providers informed through this several month transition.

For Paramount Medicaid members in the west and northeast regions,nothing will change. These members will continue to be members of the Paramount Medicaid managed care plan with the same health insurance benefits.

Paramount Medicaid Providers will remain contracted with Paramount and continue to be eligible to see Paramount members – regardless of where the member lives.

If you have questions about this notice or other issues, please call your provider relations representative. Or, call Paramount provider relations at 800-891-2542.


CLE Offered to train attorneys to volunteer at LASC Clinics

BRIEF ADVICE CLINICS: Poverty Law Topics for Pro Bono Attorneys

This program is designed to train attorneys with limited poverty law experience who volunteer their time at brief advice clinics sponsored by LASC. Presenters will focus on the services attorneys can provide within the scope of Rule 1.2 (c) (Limited Scope) and Rule 6.5 (Short Term Limited Legal Services). Sessions will also address how pro bono attorneys can meet the obligations of Rule 1.1 (Competence) and Rule 1.3 (Diligence) in order to provide effective assistance to their clinic clients—who, after clinic consultations, will be navigating the legal system as pro se litigants.

9:00 – 9:15 *Brief Advice Clinics, Unbundled Legal Services, and Serving Pro Se Clients—Dianna Parker
9:15-10:00 *Issues Impacting Self-represented Litigants in Domestic Relations Cases (Includes discussion of available pro bono programs) – Stuart Itani
10-10:45 *Issues Impacting Self-represented Litigants in Landlord-Tenant Cases (Includes discussion of available pro bono programs) – Ben Horne
10:45-11:00 Break
11-11:45 *Issues Impacting Self-represented Litigants in Probate and Estate Planning Matters (Includes discussion of available pro bono programs) — Brandon Borgmann and Andrew Marvin
11:45-12:30 Consumer Law Impacting Low-Income Individuals — Melissa Linville and William Ross
12:30-12:45 Break
12:45– 1:15 The ABCs of Public Benefits Programs—Jamie Shier
1:15-1:35 Tax Issues Impacting Low-income Individuals—Melissa Skilliter and Kathy Hoover
1:35-2:30 Clinic Resources and Referral Guidance—Dianna Parker

Planning for the Future: Preparing Simple Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Advance Directives CLE Planned

This program is designed to assist volunteer attorneys and paralegals who are participating in the PACO/LASC Pro Bono Wills Clinics which are held twice monthly at different sites throughout Central Ohio.   At these clinics, attorneys talk with the clients after the paralegals prepare the documents.   Clients are provided with completed simple wills, health care powers of attorney, living wills, organ donor registry, declaration of funeral arrangements, and financial powers of attorney.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

1:30 –4:45 PM

Legal Aid Society of Columbus, 1108 City Park, Columbus, Ohio 43206

Register here.


1:30-1:45 — Introduction to the Wills Clinic Procedures, Dilynn Roettker

1:45-2:45 — Preparing a Simple Will, Organ Donorand Declaration of Funeral Arrangements, Paul Bryson

2:45-3:30 — Preparing a Power of Attorney, Dilynn Roettker

3:30-3:45 — Clinic Procedures and Document Formatting, Teresa Scharf

3:45-4:00 — Break

4:00-5:00 — Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, Eileen F. Baker, MD, DNR, and POLST PhD, FACEP


Paul Bryson is a staff attorney on the Community Engagement team at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. He recently transitioned to LASC from his own practice, where he advised clients regularly on estate planning and wealth transfer and represented executors and administrators in Probate court. Paul’s projects at LASC include wealth preservation and intergenerational wealth planning aimed at seniors in low-income areas of Columbus. He is admitted to the bars of Ohio, and the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio.

 Dilynn Roettker received her J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 2015 and her B.S. from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism in 2010. After graduation, she completed a policy fellowship with the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio. Dilynn joined the Legal Aid Society of Columbus in October 2016, representing clients in areas such as Medicaid and Medicare benefits and treatment, Veteran’s benefits, educational services, Social Security, child care, cash and food assistance. Her practice also includes working with Legal Aid’s Medical-Legal Partnerships with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Ohioans for Better Birth Outcomes. She is admitted Ohio Bar and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

 Eileen F. Baker, MD, PhD, FACEP graduated from the University of Vermont College of Medicine and completed her residency in Emergency Medicine at Summa Health System in Akron Ohio.  She earned her PhD in Applied Philosophy from Bowling Green State University.  Dr. Baker is the Medical Director of the Medical Student Ethics Curriculum at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and works clinically as a community emergency physician for Riverwood Emergency Services, Inc.  She is a past-president of the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and currently serves on its Board.  Dr. Baker has published articles and book chapters pertaining to trauma, emergency medical services, and medical ethics.  Presently, she is editing a book on the topic of legal and ethical issues in emergency medicine.

 Teresa Scharf is the Director of the Wills Clinics for which the CLE is designed, Chair of PACO’s Pro Bono Committee, and immediate past-president of PACO.  She also serves on NFPA’s Pro Bono Committee and has co-represented the NFPA at the last to ABA Equal Justice Conferences.  She has fifteen years of experience as a litigation paralegal and twenty-eight years overall in the legal services profession.  She obtained her degree in Paralegal Studies, cum laude, from Columbus State in 2007.  Teresa is an OSBA Certified Paralegal and is a member of the OSBA Paralegal Certification Board.  She has received a number of awards, including the 2014 Outstanding Pro Bono Support Award from the Legal Aid Society of Columbus.  Teresa is involved in other pro bono activities in addition to the Wills Clinics.  She is a paralegal in the Business Litigation Practice and Products Liability / Mass Torts Defense groups at Ulmer & Berne LLP.



Setting the Tax Record Straight: Post-Assessment Challenges to Tax Debt CLE Planned for Nov. 7

This program will provide an introduction to helping taxpayers challenge tax debts with the IRS after they have already been assessed.  The training will take you step-by-step from selecting the right remedy, creating a challenge to the IRS, and the process from start to finish.  No tax expertise is necessary.  We will address common tax credit problems, as well as requesting innocent spouse relief.

Thursday, November 7, 2019, 1:00 pm – 4:00 PM
Barnes & Thornburg, LLP,  41 S. High Street, Suite 3300, Columbus, OH

Application has been made to the Supreme Court of Ohio for 2.75 hours


1:00-1:15 Introduction: What is the LITC & What We Do; How and why you can do pro bono

– Melissa Skilliter

1:15-1:30 Audit Reconsideration – Why and when would you do this?

Megan Sullivan

1:30-1:45 Common Case Scenarios

Megan Sullivan

1:45-2:15 Process, Formatting, Tips, and Appeals

– Melissa Skilliter

2:15-2:30 Break

2:30-2:45 Innocent Spouse – Why and when would you do this?

– Megan Sullivan

2:45-3:15   Types of Relief, Elements, Availability, and Why It Matters

– Melissa Skilliter

3:15-3:45  Procedure and Timeframe for Resolution

– Megan Sullivan

3:45-3:55 Taxpayer Advocate Service—What they do and when to call them?

– Melissa Skilliter

3:55-4:00 Wrap Up and Questions

– Melissa Skilliter


Melissa Skilliter is Director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) in the Columbus office, a position she has held since 2008.  Through the LITC, she handles tax controversies with the IRS, including U.S. Tax Court cases, examinations, and other cases before the IRS.  She joined SEOLS in 2005 as a staff attorney in the Zanesville office.

She has been licensed to practice law in Ohio since 2004.  She is admitted to practice in United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and the.  United States Tax Court.  She earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2004 and an LLM in Taxation from Villanova University School of Law in 2018.

Megan Sullivan is the managing attorney of the tax team and the Director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic at The Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC). She has been representing taxpayers through the Clinic for over 15 years.  She obtained her J.D. and Master of Social Work at The Ohio State University in 2002 and her LLM in Taxation from Villanova University School of Law in 2019. Megan serves on the Steering Committee of Move to Prosper and the Leadership Team of the Financial


This training is free to any attorney currently participating in (or committed to participate in) a Pro Bono program through the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) or Southeastern Ohio Legal Services (SEOLS).  All others should submit a $110.00 fee.

To register, please complete an online form here:













LASC annual forum to address early childhood education


The Legal Aid Society of Columbus announces the theme of its second annual community forum. This year’s program, which is sponsored by PNC, will discuss improving access to affordable, quality early childhood education in order to increase economic opportunity for low-income families. Panelists include LeeAnne Cornyn, Director of Children’s Initiatives, Office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine; Erik Karolak, CEO of Action for Children; Brenda Rivers, Senior Vice-President of Early Childhood and Family Services, Child Development Council of Franklin County, Inc. and Tiffany Williams, a preschool parent. United Way of Central Ohio President and CEO Lisa Courtice will moderate.

Please join us from 8 to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019 at The Wells Barn at Franklin Park Conservatory, 1777 E. Broad Street, Columbus, 43203. Breakfast will be served. Tickets are $25. Register here by Oct. 11.

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