Civil Legal Aid Funding Remains Low Despite Increased Need

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In a Mansfield News Journal article on the impact of The Great Recession on the legal field, civil legal aid is cited as an available option for low-income Ohioans seeking civil legal help. Dinsmore partner and Ohio Legal Services Association Board President, Thomas J. Bonasera, adds that despite the increased need for civil legal assistance that has resulted from the Great Recession, funding for civil legal aid remains low. Read more here.

Veterans Legal Corps Assists Veterans for National Consumer Protection Week

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As National Consumer Protection Week, coordinated by the Federal Trade Commission to help protect consumers from financial exploitation and abuse, is observed nationally from March 1 to March 7, Ohio Veterans Legal Corps (VLC) lawyers work to protect low income and vulnerable veterans from scams and predators.

In Licking County, veteran “Charles Lake”, a pseudonym used to protect his privacy, thought he had been cheated out of his money and would never get it back.

Mr. Lake took his truck to a mechanic who tried to scam him by charging him for work he had not authorized. When Mr. Lake refused to pay for the additional work, the mechanic told Mr. Lake he would not return his truck. Mr. Lake paid for the repairs, and then contacted legal aid for help.

Robert Abdalla, a VLC lawyer at Southeastern Ohio Legal Services in Newark, is one of seven Ohio VLC lawyers who represent veterans caught up in financial problems or scams. Abdalla sued the mechanic and got Mr. Lake’s money back.

“Veterans are in need of significant legal assistance especially in the area of consumer protection,” said Angela Lloyd, executive director for the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation, which provides funding for the VLC fellowships. “During this National Consumer Protection Week, in addition to recognizing the great work of the VLC fellows, we also hope to raise the visibility of the VLC so low-income veterans know that the VLC is there to protect them.”