October 19, 2012
VRC Calls for Attorneys to Keep the Program Alive
Carol M. had reached a low point in her life. A disabled veteran who had moved to Ohio after being laid off from her job of ten years as a business analyst, Carol was struggling with depression and the reality that her safety net had disappeared. “I felt like I was losing my footing,” she recalls of that time. Carol’s situation worsened when she received notice of a lawsuit seeking to collect a consumer debt. Confused, Carol contacted The Legal Aid Society of Columbus and was referred to pro bono attorney Sheila Craft-Morgan through Legal Aid’s Volunteer Resource Center. The VRC matches Legal Aid-eligible clients with pro bono attorneys for representation in eviction and consumer debt cases.
“Attorney Sheila Craft-Morgan was a lifeline,” Carol reported. “She was very good about helping me to understand the legal process, and she was knowledgeable about the area of law.” The debt at issue in Carol’s case was in dispute due to a previous divorce decree, and Sheila was committed to researching the legal questions at issue in the case and investigating the merits of the plaintiff’s claims. “She restored my faith in law,” Carol admits. When the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed Carol’s complaint, she could not have been more grateful to her attorney.
Described by her client as “quiet and gentle,” Attorney Sheila Craft-Morgan is also a powerful advocate and has been a tremendous asset to the VRC, going above and beyond expectations by taking on multiple referrals at a time. Sheila was motivated to volunteer with the VRC because of her passion for advocating for children and families. She acknowledges that VRC’s pro bono attorneys see their clients at very difficult times in their lives, and therefore it is important to “handle their cases with care.” The VRC could not function without volunteers like Sheila who are willing not only to provide low-income clients with the highest quality representation, but to treat them with the courtesy and respect that every client deserves.
When asked if she had any suggestions for improvements to the VRC, Carol stated simply: “Please keep this program available.”
Attorneys interested in answering Carol’s call and helping The Legal Aid Society of Columbus and the Volunteer Resource Center to keep this program available, contact Pro Bono Coordinator Dianna Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614/737.0184.