February 3, 2011
Legal Aid Society of Columbus Launches The Volunteer Resource Center (VRC)
The Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) is launching a new program aimed at increasing the number of low income clients who are able to access free civil legal services in Columbus. The Volunteer Resource Center (VRC) has successfully recruited a cadre of private sector lawyers who have agreed to contribute their services pro bono. Clients will be screened by LASC staff to determine eligibility for VRC services. VRC volunteers will then determine whether a referral to a pro bono lawyer is appropriate and connect low income clients with the VRC’s volunteer lawyers. Initially, the program will focus only on placing private landlord/tenant eviction cases. Plans to expand the VRC, however, include creating the capacity to handle consumer and domestic matters. The Center will NOT be engaged in referring criminal matters.
“The recent recession has multiplied the number of life-changing legal issues encountered by the low income communities of Columbus,” noted Maria Soto, Director of the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. “Not surprisingly, it has also had a huge impact on LASC’s ability to expand services to meet client demand. Our new program will expand the pool of high quality lawyers available to serve the low income communities LASC is charged with serving.”
“There are many great lawyers in Columbus who understand the needs of individuals who can’t afford standard legal fees,” said David Alexander of the firm of Squire Sanders and Dempsey and Chairman of LASC’s Board of Directors. “They want to help and they are willing to offer some of their time to serve the poor without any charge.”
The Volunteer Resource Center is scheduled to launch on February 1. Lawyers in Central Ohio who wish to add their name to the volunteer list should contact the Volunteer Resource Center at email@example.com or call 614/224.8374.