— Community Legal Aid is offering another way for clients to receive legal assistance this month. The organization will host its second annual Call for Change telethon from Oct. 24 through 28, where clients may call and receive assistance from a volunteer attorney.
The event is one way Legal Aid is celebrating Pro Bono month during October.
“Last year, we had over 100 clients served in one day,” shared Jennifer van Dulmen, managing attorney for Legal Aid’s family law practice and volunteer legal services program (VLSP). “It was such an overwhelming response, so we are expanding this year.”
To register, any low-income individual or family can call Legal Aid this week. Intake representatives will be available to screen applicants, check availability and schedule clients for a time to speak with a volunteer attorney.
Legal Aid has been working the past several weeks to line up pro bono attorneys. During the week-long event, volunteers talk to clients, giving basic advice on legal problems, and recommend any follow-up that may be needed.
“They can volunteer as much or as little as they’re able,” explained Jodi Roberts, a paralegal with Legal Aid’s VLSP. “They just tell us their county and service area of preference. We do all the screening and scheduling, and we do all the follow-up.”
In addition to managing the intake and follow-up, Legal Aid is also offering an optional training webinar to attorneys who have signed up.
This event is just one way that Legal Aid’s VLSP program aims to help those in need in central northeast Ohio, van Dulmen explained. Due to cuts in funding in recent years, the organization is only able to serve roughly half of its eligible clients through staffed attorneys.
“For every one person helped with Legal Aid, one is turned away due to lack of resources,” she shared. “VLSP is our answer.”
How to register
Clients wishing to sign up can do so by calling the HelpLine at (800) 998-9454. Screening specialists will be available Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to noon, and Tuesday and Thursday, 1 to 4 p.m.
Attorneys wishing to volunteer their time to help with this cause may contact the VLSP team at (330) 983-2671 or at [email protected].