Michael Flowers, vice president and chief legal officer for KBK Enterprises and member of the American Bar Association Board of Governors, highlights the need for legal aid funding in a letter to the editor of Columbus Business First. Read Mr. Flower’s letter here.
The Ohio Supreme Court Task Force on Access to Justice Report was at the forefront of the Access to Justice Summit at 2015 the Ohio State Bar Association Convention. More than 100 participants broke out into small groups to discuss the ideas and proposals in the report. Overall, the consensus among the panelists was that lawyers must be at the forefront of efforts to ensure low- and moderate-income Ohioans’s legal needs are met. Read more here.
In a Columbus Dispatch, Guide to Life series on divorce and dissolution, The Legal Aid Society of Columbus managing attorney, Stuart Itani, helps explain which option may be best for different situations. Read more here..
Legal Aid Society of Columbus attorney Melissa Linville says that a cycle of debt often results from suspension of drivers licenses due to, for example, not paying child support, and the consequences are dire. Read more here.
Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation board president Kathleen M. Trafford of Columbus is the 2015 recipient of the Ohio State Bar Association’s Nettie Cronise Lutes Award, which honors women lawyers who have “improved the legal profession through their own high level of professionalism and who have opened doors for other women and girls.” Read more here.
Lake County Domestic Relations Judge Colleen A. Falkowski is the recipient of the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation’s 2015 Presidential Award for Pro Bono Service. The award was presented April 29 at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center during the Ohio State Bar Association’s Annual Meeting and Convention.
The Presidential Award is presented annually to individuals, law firms or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to improving access to legal representation through pro bono or volunteer service to low-income Ohioans.
Judge Falkowski was recognized for the creation of a quarterly legal clinic held in the Lake County Courthouse and believed to be the first of its kind in Ohio. The clinic helps people who cannot afford an attorney by providing legal advice and information from pro bono attorneys; assistance with filing court papers from a court clerk; and information about available resources from a mental health professional.
Developed in collaboration with The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, the clinic is open to low-income individuals residing in Lake, Geauga, or Ashtabula Counties. By agreement between Judge Falkowski and her counterparts in the two adjacent counties, a clinic participant from any of the three counties is eligible for a waiver of court costs. To date, the clinic has assisted over 100 individuals.
The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, which nominated Judge Falkowski for the award, said in its nomination “Judge Falkowski is an outstanding example of how one person can improve access to justice through pro bono leadership.”
“Judge Falkowski, through her vision and leadership, has lifted up our civilized society and ensured that the promise of justice for all is a greater reality for residents of northeast Ohio,” said Kathleen M. Trafford, a partner in the Columbus office of law firm Porter Wright and president of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “I’m honored to present the 2015 Presidential Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service to Judge Colleen A. Falkowski.”
Image Source: Ohio State Bar Association
The Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation announced on Thursday its 2015 class of Prime Partner financial institutions: American Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Heartland Bank and Key Bank.
The Foundation created the Prime Partners Program in 2012 to recognize financial institutions offering rates and terms above the minimums required for lawyer and title agent trust accounts, known as IOLTA and IOTA accounts. Interest earned on IOLTA and IOTA accounts is a critical source of funding for Ohio’s legal aids.
In addition to preferred terms and rates, Prime Partner financial institutions also meet the Foundation’s criteria for charitable giving, employee involvement, and corporate support for Ohio Legal Aid.
Since joining the Prime Partner program in late 2014, Heartland Bank has been actively engaged in improving funding for Ohio Legal Aid. “Heartland is proud to support the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation by being a Prime Partner. Knowing that the interest generated is going to defend the defenseless in our community with their civil legal issues is very rewarding and fits our Community Bank mission to support our local communities,” said Heartland Bank President and C.E.O., G. Scott McComb.
American and Fifth Third have earned Prime Partner financial institution status for the third year, and Key Bank has attained Prime Partner status for each of the four years of the program’s existence.
“Our Prime Partner financial institutions demonstrate commitment to ensuring that all Ohioans have a legal voice and access to justice,” said Angela M. Lloyd, Executive Director for the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation. “Ohio’s legal aids value the support of financial institutions that recognize the great need of low-income and vulnerable families, seniors, and veterans in their communities, and the institutions’ dedication to helping address that need.”
Prime Partner financial institutions were promoted by the Foundation to members of the Ohio State Bar Association at the Association’s Annual Meeting and Convention, at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Sandusky April 29 through May 1.