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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Referred cases are limited to finite, narrow legal problems that are screened by Columbus Bar staff prior to referral. Volunteers are requested to accept either 2 referrals each year or to spend up to 20 hours each year on LFJ referrals. Entire law firms or legal departments can also commit to LFJ by providing a primary contact within the firm and agreeing to provide a certain number of hours to LJF on an annual basis.
Types of Cases
LFJ projects involve a number of different areas of the law. Volunteer attorneys can request to receive referrals in any number of areas:
- Immigration/Naturalization: Research opportunities for change in status, assist in preparing and submitting application for new status
- Unemployment Benefits: Appeal denial of unemployment
- Veterans Benefits: Appeal denial of benefits to a veteran
- Social Security Benefits: Assist in disputing assessments of overpayment of benefits, appeal the denial of benefits
- Collection Defense -- a "catch-all" area most commonly involves "workouts" with creditors
- Consumer -- miscellaneous consumer complaints for clients whose cases are not addressed by the Attorney General's office or the Better Business Bureau
- Tax Exempt Application
- General Representation -- miscellaneous category, such as leases, insurance or contract review
- Eviction defense
Cases LFJ Will Not Accept or Refer
- Domestic matters: divorce, dissolution, or post-decree matters
- Criminal cases
- Class action lawsuits or any other overly time-consuming or complex matter
- Cases for which there is a good possibility that an attorney could be paid
Referred clients are not charged by LFJ or the volunteer attorney. Any court costs, filing fees, etc. remain the client's responsibility.
LFJ only refers clients that meet certain income restrictions. (In other words, depending upon the number of members in a household, clients must have income between $16,612-$42,844 and have less than $2,000 in liquid assets.) Malpractice Insurance is provided at no charge by LFJ to volunteer attorneys to cover clients referred by LFJ.
Interested volunteers should contact She'lia Bolding at 614/221.4112 or e-mail She'lia Bolding.