Pro Bono Works in Columbus

The Columbus Bar Association provides an efficient, effective infrastructure to help you practice the law of good intentions. If you are interested in participating in pro bono activities with the Columbus Bar Association, please contact She'lia Bolding at she'lia@cbalaw.org.

Pro Bono Opportunities

Columbus Bar Lawyers for Justice (LFJ)

Lawyers for Justice (LFJ) is a program of the Columbus Bar Association and the Columbus Bar Foundation that was initiated in 1993. It attempts to reduce the unmet need for civil legal services among indigent residents of Central Ohio.

Attorneys can volunteer for two cases or 20 hours each year to provide civil legal services for low income clients in various areas, including administrative law, bankruptcy, consumer, non-profit corporations, landlord/tenant, personal injury, wills, powers of attorney, etc.

The Legal Aid Society of Columbus

The Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) is a nonprofit law firm that provides civil legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in Central Ohio. In addition to the CBA programs listed below, LASC offers a number of pro bono and reduced fee representation opportunities to local attorneys. Programs are in place for volunteers from all fields of practice and experience levels--newly licensed attorneys, litigators, in-house corporate counsel, Assistant Attorneys General, and recently retired counsel. LASC refers pro bono cases in the areas of housing, consumer, foreclosure mediation, tax, seniors’ wills and POAs, unemployment compensation, and uncontested divorces. Attorneys who prefer limited engagement opportunities can attend a LASC-sponsored brief advice clinic (at area Interfaith sites, homeless shelters, and the VA Ambulatory Care Center) or brief service clinic (PACO/LASC Wills Clinics, Bankruptcy Bypass Clinics). LASC offers primary malpractice coverage, free access to CLEs, and CLE credit for pro bono hours for those attorneys who participate. For additional details, visit the LASC website. Attorneys who wish to volunteer may complete a LASC Pro Bono Application.

Questions? Contact LASC Pro Bono Coordinator Dianna Parker Howie at dparkerhowie@columbuslegalaid.org.

Columbus Bar Lawyers for Justice (LFJ) Volunteer Guardian Panel

The Lawyers for Justice Volunteer Guardian Panel was initiated by the Franklin County Probate Court to address the increasing number of requests from local nursing homes for court-appointed guardians for some of their residents. Attorneys can assist court-appointed guardians perform their responsibilities. Volunteer attorneys review the legal paper work associated with the guardianship appointment, file the application and attend the hearing as the attorney of record for the guardian.

PACO/LASC Pro Bono Wills Clinics

Coordinated by the Paralegal Association of Central Ohio (PACO) and the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC), Wills Clinics provide local senior citizens with wills and other legal documents. Volunteer attorneys and paralegals travel to senior centers and other locations throughout central Ohio. For more information, please contact Teresa Scharf, PACO Pro Bono Committee Chair, at ProBonoColumbus@gmail.com.

Brief Advice & Referral Clinics (Interfaith Legal Clinics)

The Columbus Bar Association and local Legal Aid programs sponsor a number of Pro Bono clinics in Central Ohio where volunteer lawyers can meet with low-income individuals with legal problems. Various churches and community centers support the project by providing space, recruiting lawyers, and conducting outreach to clients.

Court-Appointed Guardian Ad Litem Program

Attorneys can volunteer to be a court-appointed Guardian Ad Litems in domestic and juvenile cases in Franklin County to assist unmarried partners in custody disputes.

Franklin County Municipal Court Pre-Filing Mediation Program

Franklin County Municipal Court is seeking volunteer mediators to staff its pre-filing and rent escrow mediation program, held every other Thursday evening starting at 6:00pm. The average mediation session is two hours, but varies based the dynamic among the parties, mediator, and conflict that is the subject of the mediation. Mediators will be scheduled to mediate approximately two times per quarter, with the option to pick up additional mediations if interested. Mediators must have a minimum of 12 hours Basic Mediation Training and 2 hours of Uniform Mediation Act (UMA) Training, or equivalent course work. Mediators will be asked to observe at least one mediation and will be observed at least once before being added to the mediation roster.

Just Take One

One meeting, one letter, one phone call, or one piece of advice can make a big difference to a low-income person with a legal matter. The new Just Take One program encourages all attorneys to make a difference by providing pro bono legal representation annually to at least one individual or family that otherwise cannot afford an attorney.

Can't volunteer but want to help?

Although our volunteers donate hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal services annually, the Columbus Bar needs funds to operate the program, identify and interview clients, organize training seminars, pay for liability insurance and interpreters, etc. Your financial support is greatly appreciated. Please make checks payable to the Delivery of Legal Services Fund of the Columbus Bar Foundation.