Martin “Sam” Krauss

Sam KraussA former Hearing Officer with the Ohio Unemployment Compensation Review Commission (UCRC), Sam Krauss teamed up with LASC’s Unemployment Compensation Appeals Project (UCAP) in 2015 to represent low-income individuals who are being denied benefits.

Born in New Jersey, Sam received his Bachelor’s in Philosophy at The Ohio State University before obtaining his law degree from the Lewis and Clark Law School in Oregon. He began his career in the public interest as a public defender in Oregon and then moved to Ohio to work in a private firm handling domestic, juvenile and bankruptcy cases. In addition to volunteering his time with LASC, Sam currently works independently representing employers and individuals in unemployment compensation hearings.

With the company of his lay-about “secretarial staff” (his three dogs), Sam enjoys working from his home office and the quick pace that his job requires. From start to finish, he has—at most—two weeks for each case he handles. “A hearing is exhilarating because of the concentration testimony demands, the changes in rules and hearing styles from state to state or ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) to ALJ, and how it all happens so fast with little discovery.”

Pro bono participation can be intimidating to some attorneys who lack experience in the relevant areas of law, but Sam’s situation is a bit different: during his time as a hearing officer at the UCRC, he held around 7,000 unemployment compensation hearings. The availability of accessible training, mentoring and support for new pro bono attorneys is an important aspect of the LASC pro bono program, and Sam has become a critical element in the UCAP mentoring scheme. Some lawyers have a difficult time navigating unemployment hearings if they have never done one before; since Sam joined the program, LASC has paired new volunteers with him for shadowing opportunities before they take on their first independent pro bono referral.

Sam explains the importance of one’s unemployment appeal: “A hearing is a do-over. It does not depend in any way on lower decisions. At the same time, it is the last chance to present evidence because hearing appeals are only record reviews. For these reasons, the hearing is crucial and people need help. They should reach out to the LASC.”

And when they do, Sam and the other volunteers for the UCAP project will be there to help them. The pro bono clients Sam has helped express deep gratitude for the representation. One client recently sent in an email, writing “[Sam’s] representation was above outstanding as well as his obvious concern for me as a human being to get the justice I deserved. He was personable yet professional and I could not have asked for a better lawyer. Words truly cannot express how thankful I am for all his help.” Another client commented: “Thank you for providing me with such an exceptional representative. Mr. Krauss was efficient, friendly, and knowledgeable of the case in the short time frame given. His work ethic was precise and smooth. When my confidence was at its lowest, Mr. Krauss assured me that everything would be ok and he delivered those results.”

Sam, thank you for delivering results to clients in need. We are thankful for you!

If you would like more information about the Unemployment Compensation Appeal Project, visit our Get Involved section.

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