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Pro Bono Legal Services Program

The Toledo Bar Association Pro Bono Legal Services Program connects volunteer attorneys with low-income individuals in a variety of legal issues. The Pro Bono Program is a success due to the attorneys who volunteer and donate to support the program.

Our program will accept case to place with volunteer attorneys in the following areas:

  • divorces with minor children;
  • simple estate planning;
  • bankruptcy;
  • tort defense;
  • real estate issues;
  • adoption;
  • relief from administration;
  • guardianships;
  • incorporation of nonprofits;
  • probate;
  • landlord/tenant;
  • consumer debt issues (other than bankruptcy).

The Pro Bono Program does not handle criminal cases. To assist in limited or other legal representation contact Michelle Tussing directly at 419-242-9363 or mtussing@toledobar.org.

 

Pro Se Clinics & Legal Community Engagement

In addition, the Pro Bono Program offers several pro se clinics for clients, including the Juvenile Court Clinic; the Divorce Clinic; and the Expungement Clinic. To volunteer with one of our clinics, contact Michelle Tussing at 419-242-9363 or mtussing@toledobar.org.

PRO SE DIVORCE CLINIC
We help pre-screened clients fill out paperwork to file for divorce on their own. This is for no minor children, no real estate, no property division, no spousal support. No prior experience in divorces is needed as it is a classroom style clinic.
 

JUVENILE COURT WALK-IN CLINIC
People who are filing paperwork in Lucas County Juvenile Court can come to this clinic to receive assistance on filling out the paperwork only. No legal advice. They can leave with their completed papers to file in the court on their own. No prior experience in Juvenile Court is needed to help with this clinic.
 

RECORD SEALING CLINIC - Program on Hold
We help people determine if they are eligible to have their record sealed, and, if so, help them fill out the paperwork to file pro se. Training or knowledge in record sealing is required.
 

CHERRY STREET CLINIC - Program on Hold
Volunteers assist guests of the Cherry Street Mission with “legal coaching.” The Pro Bono Program provides brief training prior to the clinic. Volunteers meet with guests, listen to their legal issue, and point them into the right direction.
 

VA BRIEF ADVICE CLINIC - Program on Hold 
Volunteer attorneys meet with veterans in this walk-in clinic about various legal issues. This is brief advice to point the client in the right direction and provide referrals to appropriate agencies, as needed. We place clients with attorneys who are familiar with that legal issue. No further commitment with the client is made beyond the brief advice.
 

VA WILLS CLINIC - Program on Hold 
An annual Wills Clinic at the Toledo VA for local veterans, providing free simple wills and advanced directives. Held around Veterans Day, attorneys partner with paralegals or law students to help prepare the wills and advanced directives on site.
 

PRO SE GUARDIANSHIPS
Attorneys meet with pre-screened individuals to prepare the paperwork to file guardianship pro se. This is guardianship of the person only and is usually a family member of the proposed ward. Before placing with a volunteer attorney, the Pro Bono Program will make sure it’s guardianship of the person only (not estate) and the Statement of Expert Evaluation is completed by the doctor. The attorney can meet with the client at his/her convenience to prepare the paperwork. No further commitment after preparing the paperwork is required, but attorneys are welcome to represent the client in court if they wish to do so. Most of the guardianships are uncontested.
 

NONPROFIT CONNECT
The Pro Bono Program connects volunteer attorneys to assist people who want to incorporate a nonprofit, as well as assisting established non-profits with simple, transactional matters. The non-profits are screened to ensure they do not have the funds to hire an attorney without being a detriment to their program. Additionally, Nonprofit Connect has continued to work with the Center for Nonprofit Resources to provide educational seminars to area nonprofits led by volunteer attorneys on a variety of legal topics.
 

COURT OF APPEALS MEDIATION
The Court of Appeals will refer pro se litigants who are set for mediation to the Pro Bono Program to see if they qualify for services. If so, we will place with a volunteer attorney to represent the client at the mediation only. This helps all parties involved, including the court and the opposing party, but especially the client. No representation beyond mediation is required.
 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CPO’S
The Pro Bono Program keeps a list of attorneys who will represent petitioners in domestic violence CPO hearings in the Domestic Relations Court in both Lucas and Wood Counties. These attorneys do not charge the client a fee, but can petition the AG’s Victim of Crime Fund to get paid at the end of the representation.


DRUG COURT 
The Lucas County Drug Court is a special court program to address chronic drug use. The participants in this program undergo lengthy treatment and court requirements which leads to sober living and the avoidance of jail time. While in this program, the participants face many civil legal issues that pose a threat to their sobriety and cannot be addressed by the defense attorneys.

The Pro Bono Program has partnered with the Lucas County Drug Court to provide volunteer attorneys to help with some of these civil legal issues for participants who are further along in the program. The major issues that are typically presented are those relating to child support, visitation, landlord/tenant, and consumer debt. As part of getting a pro bono attorney through this program, the participant is then required to also do pro bono work by volunteering at an agreed upon location doing the same number of hours that their pro bono attorney worked on
their case: Pro bono for pro bono. 


Attorneys can earn Ohio CLE credit for hours spent working with Pro Bono clients.

Send original, completed form to: Toledo Bar Association, 311 N. Superior, Toledo, OH 43604

Please consider joining your colleagues to support Pro Bono. To join the Pro Bono Panel of attorneys contact Michelle Tussing, Director of the Toledo Bar Association Pro Bono Program, at 419.242.9363 or mtussing@toledobar.org.
 

Ask the Attorney Hotline - Program On Hold

The Toledo Bar Association staffs an "Ask the Attorney" hotline in cooperation with local television station WTOL-11. Volunteer attorneys are needed to answer legal questions on Wednesday evenings, 5:15 to 7:30 pm To volunteer for ANY WEDNESDAY, contact: Lisa Foreman at lforeman@toledobar.org , 419-242-9636 
 

Law-Related Education Programs

The Law-Related Education Committee sponsors several opportunities for attorneys to provide community service.

Volunteer to:

  • present classroom programs;
  • judge the high school mock trial competition;
  • rank essays for the annual Caty Armstrong Law Day Essay Contest.

To volunteer, contact Lisa Small, 419-418-5310 or lsmall@toledobar.org.

 

Young Lawyers Committee

The Young Lawyers Committee, open to any attorney in practice for 10 years or fewer, organizes public service and social events for its members. To join the Committee, contact Donna Williamson, 419.242.9363 or dwilliamson@toledobar.org.

 

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