Anne Valentine greyscale - 2016On any given night in Columbus, hundreds of individuals and families lack an adequate nighttime residence–couch surfing with friends, doubled up with family members, or staying in one of the local emergency shelters. In an effort to ensure that shelter residents are equipped with information about their legal rights and the resources available to help bring them closer to stability, LASC works with community partners and local volunteers to staff legal advice clinics at the YWCA Family Center, two Faith Mission sites, and the Van Buren family and adult shelters. Attorneys who donate their time at these clinics come from diverse backgrounds and practice areas, but one common thread ties them: a desire to help some of our most vulnerable community members. Anne Valentine, a partner at Leeseberg & Valentine, brings both extraordinary experience as a litigator and also a genuine commitment to treating all clients with dignity, kindness, and attention.

Anne first engaged in pro bono as a volunteer with the Columbus Bar Association Homeless Project, which merged into the LASC Adult Shelter Assistance Project (ASAP) several years ago. She now regularly assists with ASAP, a program that places small groups of law students and pro bono attorneys at Faith Mission and Van Buren shelters four evenings per month.

A trial lawyer with more than 30 years’ experience, Anne was elected the first woman president of The Ohio Association for Justice (formerly OATL) in 2000. Other honors include her six-year appointment on the Ohio Supreme Court Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure. Since 1999 she has been on the board and has served as an instructor at Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College and often lectures on insurance law, evidence, trial practice and medical negligence topics. When she is not litigating, teaching, or counseling clients at the ASAP clinics, she volunteers with Columbus Aids Task Force and sings with the Harmony Project.

Although clinic attorneys are only asked to provide advice, Anne has gone out of her way to provide a higher level of service when she can. At many clinics, she can be seen making phone calls on behalf of desperate clients and reaching out to colleagues or friends in other fields, to ensure that the clients’ questions are fully addressed. She has also extended efforts into full representation: “I remember representing several residents at the Open Shelter who had been hired to wash windows for a man who came to recruit workers. They did the work and the man refused to pay the agreed upon wages, assuming I believe, the homeless men would have no one to fight for them. But they did.” She ultimately prevailed on the case, and the men received the pay that they had earned. Cases like these are what bring Anne and so many others to volunteer their time with LASC.

Volunteering at a shelter clinic can be challenging. Clients often come in with more than simple legal questions, laden with mental health impairments, battles with substance abuse, familial entanglements, and justice system involvement. When they sit down for a consultation from Anne and the other shelter clinic volunteers, individuals have the opportunity to tell their stories to someone who can listen without judgment, arming them with the tools that can lead to future empowerment. Many thanks to Anne for providing that patient ear to so many people for so many years!

Translate »