Legal Aid Society of Cleveland says those who need its help exceeds number it can serve (video)

November 22, 2017

Legal Aid Society of Cleveland says those who need its help exceeds number it can serve (video)

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland on Monday thanked 1,100 sponsors and volunteers, honored two of its longtime supporters, and launched an ambitious fundraising challenge from BakerHostetler law firm.

Legal Aid also announced that despite having helped 17,769 people in Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, and Lorain counties last year, the number of people who desperately need its services and legal expertise still exceeds the number of people it has the money to serve.

That’s why BakerHostetler has pledged to match, dollar-for-dollar, every gift to Legal Aid paid by Dec. 1.

Legal Aid awarded its Louis Stokes Paragon Awards, in memory of the late U.S. Congressman, to John Levi and James Sandman of the Legal Services Corporation, the nation’s largest single funder of civil legal aid.

Levi, a partner in Sidley Austin LLP law firm in Chicago, has been chair of Legal Services Corporation’s board since 2009. Sandman, former general counsel for the District of Columbia Public Schools, has been president of Legal Services Corporation since 2011.

Levi accepted his award in Stokes’ name, saying that ensuring that everyone has access to equal justice is not charity. He said his Legal Aid story was helping a veteran suffering from PTSD get the resources he needed to remain in his home and get the treatment he needed after returning from Afghanistan.

Sandman, on the other hand, said: “I don’t deserve this award, but I accept it as a challenge to earn it, and I pledge to his [Stokes’] family that I will.”

Vanetta Jamison, president of Legal Aid’s board of directors, said: “Our theme this year is from the quote by Margaret Mead: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’”

Legal Aid’s Executive Director Colleen Cotter said: “For more than a century, our modus operandi has been building a community in pursuit of justice. A community to extend our outreach, ensuring we are where and when our clients need us.″

According to Cotter, of the cases Legal Aid tackled in 2017:

Almost half of the households included childrenAlmost three-quarters of clients were female56 percent were African American34 percent were white7 percent were Latino83 percent of clients’ households made less than $25,000 a yearThe organization prevented 68 percent of foreclosures and 92 percent of evictionIt removed barriers to education in 84 percent of casesIt secured the safety of clients from domestic violence in 98 percent of casesIt helped 878 U.S. veterans and veteran family members.

This is the #MyLegalAidStory video Goldfarb Weber Creative Media debuted at Legal Aid’s luncheon: