Legal Aid hosts free legal advice clinics

Cleveland Heights resident Carolyn Broering-Jacobs, a professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, volunteering at a past Legal Aid clinic.

As a Cleveland Heights City Council Member and attorney, I believe in the Legal Aid Society’s mission to secure justice for our community’s low-income residents by providing free and high-quality legal services. If you have a noncriminal legal problem, but don’t think you can afford an attorney, the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland can help. This spring, the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland will host two free legal advice clinics near Cleveland Heights and University Heights: on May 10 at the Woodland Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, and on June 7 at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Health Center in East Cleveland.

Did you know that creditors can’t harass you to collect a debt? That there are special immigration visas that give protections to victims of crime, including domestic violence survivors? That you should not vacate your home just because you receive a foreclosure notice? The Legal Aid Society can help with all of these issues, and more.

All too often the most vulnerable are unaware of, or are unable to exercise, their legal rights. This sad reality can have drastic results for the community at-large. For example, Cleveland Heights has been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, with more than 2,000 filings since 2005. The problem was made worse, though, by residents leaving their homes—needlessly, in some cases. Overwhelmed and scared by bank foreclosure notices, which in fact do not have the power to kick one out of one’s home, residents simply packed up and moved out. They left behind blighted properties, nuisances and a vacancy problem that Cleveland Heights is still fighting. If these residents had spoken with Legal Aid attorneys, they possibly could have saved their homes, or, at the very least, learned they had the right to stay in their homes for months, if not years, after receiving that first foreclosure notice. 

I am a proud supporter of, and volunteer with, the Legal Aid Society because it secures justice and provides high-quality legal services for the most vulnerable members of our community.

Legal Aid recently saved one couple’s home when they fell behind on their monthly payments. Although the bank fought against it, Legal Aid was able to negotiate a lower interest rate, from 11.5 percent to 3.8 percent. Thanks to the lower monthly payments and Legal Aid, the couple was able to keep their home.

With 42 staff attorneys and more than 1,600 volunteers, the Legal Aid Society fights domestic violence and consumer fraud, enforces employee rights, prevents homelessness, protects children, and supports efforts to bring affordable housing, jobs and services to low-income communities.

Legal Aid gets results. It prevented foreclosures in 76 percent of its cases, removed barriers to education in 89 percent, and prevented eviction in 99 percent of cases.

Legal Aid’s clinics provide free legal advice from attorneys and law students on civil (not criminal) legal issues for low-income individuals. Clients will receive advice on a first-come, first-served basis. As a former clinic volunteer, I know firsthand that clients often receive sufficient help just from coming to the clinic. If you need more assistance than the clinic visit alone can provide, Legal Aid will continue to work with you to resolve your problem.

If you or someone you know needs help with a noncriminal legal problem, attend one of Legal Aid’s upcoming free legal advice clinics:

  • Saturday, May 10, 9:30–11 a.m., at the Woodland Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, 5806 Woodland Ave., Cleveland.
  • Saturday, June 7, 9:30–11 a.m., at Stephanie Tubbs Jones Health Center, 13944 Euclid Ave., East Cleveland.

For more information, or if you are unable to attend one of the free clinics, call Legal Aid at 216-687-1900 or 888-817-3777, or visit Legal Aid online at

Melissa Yasinow

Melissa Yasinow is a member of Cleveland Heights City Council, an associate at the law firm Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, and a volunteer with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

Read More on Opinion
Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 2:10 PM, 05.05.2014