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.”