The Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) wishes to recognize Assistant Attorney General Kelly McCloud for his active participation in the PACO Wills Clinics. He serves as an excellent example of how public sector attorneys can engage in pro bono through limited service opportunities.
A native of Rochester, New York, Kelly obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California, his Masters in African American studies from Cornell, and his law degree from the University of Cincinnati. As an AAG in the Environmental Enforcement Section, he represents the Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting at the Ohio Department of Agriculture on matters concerning the regulation of large livestock operations and agricultural waste management. He also represents the Ohio EPA in litigation related to the enforcement of Ohio’s safe drinking water and water pollution control laws.
During law school, Kelly worked as a law clerk for two years at the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati. Focusing primarily on housing and bankruptcy, he was able to serve as an advocate for lower income clients with serious legal issues and to participate in community outreach activities in several Cincinnati neighborhoods.
This interest in assisting vulnerable populations carried through to Kelly’s legal career when he started volunteering with the Wills clinics in 2012. The PACO/LASC Wills Clinics visit low-income senior residential facilities around Central Ohio 1-2 times per month. Spearheaded by paralegal Teresa Scharf and LASC attorney Marcia Palof, the clinics are staffed by volunteer attorneys, paralegals, and law students.
Through his participation, Kelly has enjoyed gaining practical experience in will drafting and extensive client interaction and counseling, but he finds true motivation from intangible and personal benefits: “It’s the satisfaction of knowing that I’m providing valuable legal assistance to seniors who are making important end-of-life decisions about the disposition of their property and essential healthcare needs. It’s been a very joyful experience.”
In 2014 alone, Kelly attended ten Wills clinics, and his work has had a concrete impact on the seniors he helped. Clients who have met with Kelly “all express their deep appreciation for the free legal services provided by the wills clinic and they typically express their relief that they have finally accomplished something they needed but did not have the means or knowledge to accomplish on their own.” Marcia Palof echoes the impact Kelly has had on the program: “Kelly is such a pleasant person to be around that he makes clinics better just by being there. We are very lucky to have him.” Kelly is helpful not only to clients but to the law students who attend. As Teresa Scharf notes, “One of the many attributes about Kelly is that law students love working with him and usually ask to be assigned to assist him at the Wills Clinics. They love his demeanor and the way he talks to the clients whom we serve. Without fail everyone has said they learned much working alongside Kelly.”
Kelly explains the importance of the Clinics, despite the fact that the clients have very few assets: “Some are dealing with serious health problems and physical limitations, and others find themselves in a very vulnerable position late in their lives. It’s important that we assist them in appointing someone they can trust to make sound financial and healthcare decisions if the client happens to lose their independence or experience a debilitating health crisis.”
Thank you, Kelly, for your contributions to our program and to vulnerable seniors in Central Ohio!