Get Involved

 

We are fortunate to work with amazing volunteers. Hear from a few of them and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French in our new video, produced by the Ohio State Bar Association!

80% of the civil legal needs of the poor go unmet. With LASC’s staff resources at a low, we draw upon the time and talent of volunteers — attorneys, paralegals, law students, undergraduates, and community members — who can help us ensure Access to Justice for civil litigants in our community.

While the LASC has the goal of Pursuing Justice and Changing Lives, this challenge is not ours alone.  Paragraph 6 of the Preamble to the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct charges all attorneys to

“Be mindful of deficiencies in the administration of justice and of the fact that the poor, and sometimes persons who are not poor, cannot afford adequate legal assistance.

Therefore, all lawyers should devote professional time and resources and use civic influence to ensure equal access to our system of justice for all those who because of economic or social barriers cannot afford or secure adequate legal counsel.”

Will you join us?

 


2017 Pro Bono Award Recipients Announced

The Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC), Columbus Bar Association (CBA), and Columbus Bar Foundation (CBF) are thrilled to announce this year’s Pro Bono Awards recipients. Awards will be presented at the 2017 Pro Bono Reception during the ABA National Pro Bono Celebration Week at the Columbus Bar Association on Thursday, October 26th at 5:30 PM. Please RSVP here.

2017 Outstanding Pro Bono Service by an IndividualVincene Verdun

In late 2012, Vincene reached out to the Columbus Bar Association and LASC with an interest in starting a brief advice clinic at her church: New Salem Missionary Baptist Church on Cleveland Avenue in Linden. NSMBC had occupied a leadership role in delivering non-legal services to the poor in the neighboring community, and with a healthy number of attorney parishioners, they wished to add a legal clinic to further enhance their outreach initiatives. LASC and the CBA signed on to partner and sponsor the New Salem clinic, which launched in early 2013. Since that time, Vincene arrives monthly with homecooked dinner for the volunteer lawyers, coordinating lawyer sign-ups and scheduling.  She only misses clinics when she’s traveling to visit family or friends and always ensures that there are backup volunteers for her role at the clinic. She has staffed more than thirty clinics and serves as an excellent example of individual pro bono participation and leadership!

 

2017 New Attorney Pro Bono Service Award Orsolya Hamar-Hilt

Orsolya joined the LASC pro bono program at least three years ago, beginning her involvement with local brief advice clinics at the YWCA Family Center and Greater Hilltop Crossroads United Methodist Church. Since then, she has presented at LASC Naturalization CLEs, staffed Naturalization clinics, and attended other brief advice clinics. However, Orsolya’s most remarkable involvement has been in her participation with the Volunteer Resource Center Housing Project, which matches pro bono attorneys with low-income tenants facing eviction. Since joining the project, Orsolya has regularly accepted pro bono cases, handling seven evictions in 2016 and another five in 2017 so far. Although she was a lawyer in her home county of Hungary, she only recently joined the Ohio bar in 2012. Orsolya has also been active with the Columbus Bar Association initiatives.

 

2017 Award for Outstanding Service by a Law Firm or Corporation – Taft Stettinius and Hollister

Taft has been involved with LASC’s pro bono program for more than a decade, helping LASC and the CBA start the original Pro Bono Tenants Advocacy (PBTAP) project, which placed volunteer lawyers at eviction court once a week. When PBTAP was discontinued due to reductions in LASC staffing, Taft continued its commitment to access to justice, staffing brief advice clinics at Broad Street United Methodist Church and First Church of God on a regular basis. In 2013, Janica Pierce Tucker joined the LASC board and has been an active contributor to its work. Most notably, when LASC launched the Tenant Advocacy Project, which now places a staff lawyer and pro bono attorneys (when available) at eviction court every day of the week, Taft was one of the first firms to sign on as a leader, which meant committing to send at least two attorneys to two clinics per month.  They regularly staff the annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down and never hesitate to step up when asked to support LASC’s access to justice initiatives.

 

2017 “In the Trenches” AwardDavid Roark

Retired from Grange Insurance, David reached out to LASC interested in spending some of his “free” time assisting clients in need. Although he still maintained a contract position handling Department of Insurance hearings, with his daytime availability, David was a great fit for the VA brief advice clinic, which boasts an aggressive weekly schedule from 9-12:00, and he has been a stalwart contributor to that clinic. David staffed 19 clinics in 2015 and another 33 in 2016, attending some evening brief advice clinics as well at Mt. Olivet church when needed. In 2017, David expanded his pro bono portfolio to include Tenant Advocacy Project clinics, where he assists low-income tenants with working out resolutions that enable them to preserve their housing or move in a more dignified and safe manner.

 

2017 Pro Bono SupportBill and Donna Kelley

Both retired, neither Bill nor Donna have any professional or personal connection to the law. That being said, they have been very active in their church at the Broad Street Presbyterian Church and agreed to become the clinic’s volunteer coordinators about three years ago. Since they joined the group, Bill and Donna have been organized, enthusiastic, compassionate, and incredibly reliable, ensuring that the clinic always has sufficient volunteer lawyers and—more importantly—some sort of treat. They are the first to arrive and last to leave each month, and Bill’s signature monthly reminder email always contains a fact about what happened in history on that particularly clinic date. Their involvement highlights how important non-attorneys are to the delivery of pro bono services, and LASC is grateful to have them.

 

The needs of the poor often go unmet.

Jane Taylor, Justice French, Lori Keating - Reception - 2015 - Greyscale

 

 

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