Volume 1, Issue 2, February 2021
Pursuing Justice, Changing Lives
In this issue: Fellow Spotlight, CLE updates, Our New Chief Development Officer and The Fresh Start Gala.

Fellow Spotlight: Candace Milner

Candace Milner Selected as First Thomas W. Weeks Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fellow

OSLSA is excited to introduce its first Thomas W. Weeks Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fellow, Candace Milner. A native of Columbus, Candace graduated from Eastmoor Academy. She earned a bachelor's degree in business management from Georgetown University and is currently in her second year at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law.

She will spend her 10-week fellowship working at the Ohio Poverty Law Center, where she will focus on unemployment compensation issues and gender and racial disparities related to unemployment. "We are thrilled that Candace chose to work with the OPLC team for her fellowship," says OPLC Director Susan Jagers. "After recently completing an externship with the public benefits team at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, she is now applying that experience and passion to advocate for policies that help low-income Ohioans. Candace has already hit the ground running to support our advocacy priorities."

The fellowship, which provides opportunities for law students to work in a legal services organization in order to develop their interests and skills in public interest law, is designed to foster diversity in legal aid programs. It was created to honor Tom Weeks, the longtime director of OSLSA, who retired in 2019.

Candace says she is eager to develop skills that will make her a more successful advocate. "I knew this fellowship would give me the opportunity to work with amazing attorneys while honing legal skills that will stick with me well beyond the fellowship” she said. “I hope to have a better understanding of the role attorneys can play in supporting low-income clients who are navigating legal issues. Additionally, I’d like to learn more about the policy changes needed to actively support working families and help communities thrive.”

We are currently accepting applications for our Summer 2021 Fellow.

If you are interested in supporting the Thomas W. Weeks Fellowship, you can make a donation on our website. Be sure to indicate that it is a Tribute Gift for the Thomas W. Weeks Fellowship.

Board of Revision: Assisting Low-Income Homeowners with Property Value Complaints
LASC and the Franklin County Auditor's Office are excited to work together to support homeowners considering challenging their property values used for tax purposes. Every year by March 31, property owners can file a complaint asserting the Auditor’s office has not set the appropriate value for the prior tax year (value as of Jan. 1, 2020). In years like 2021 right after values are updated thousands of such complaints are filed. We believe that lower-income homeowners are less likely to use this option and that connection with good advice and representation can help them navigate the process.
 
This year we are hosting a pilot project of remote clinics to help connect homeowners with real estate and legal professionals for short informational clinics and pro bono representation for virtual hearings (typically 30 minutes). Lawyers, realtors, appraisers, and other related real estate professionals are welcome as volunteers. A short training is available to those who are interested. To sign up to help with either clinics or hearing representation, please use this link.
Volunteers Needed!

We are grateful for the many contributions of volunteers during this difficult time, but our needs continue to grow! Here are a few of our priority areas:

  • to help with Unemployment Compensation -- which serves individuals with UC issues, including (1) guiding them through the application process (non-attorneys); (2) providing advice on eligibility or other procedural issues (attorneys); and (3) representing claimants in phone appeal hearings (attorneys).

  • to offer Domestic Relations advice in our virtual clinics or with simple uncontested divorces.

OSLSA Hires New Chief Development Officer
OSLSA is excited to announce that Curtis Eaton joined our staff on February 1. Eaton, who most recently served as the Director of Development for the University of Cincinnati Foundation, said OSLSA's potential to make dramatic changes in people's lives drew him to the job. "I was immediately moved by the mission and vision of OSLSA to combat injustice and unfairness and help people rise out of poverty," he said.

He earned his undergraduate and master's degrees from Kent State University and grew up in Akron.

"I look forward to meeting and working with our dedicated team of pro bono volunteers. Your services are key to our success as a legal services organization," Eaton said. "We are extremely grateful to those who have continued to donate their time and talent during the pandemic but understand that some of you may no longer have the time for volunteering. There is still much work to do to help clients access the protections and resources they need. If you are able, please consider providing financial support to OSLSA during this very critical time."
Ohio Access to Justice Foundation Accepting Nominations for the
2021 Presidential Award 

The Ohio Access to Justice Foundation Presidential Award is presented annually to individuals, law firms, or organizations that have made outstanding efforts in improving access to justice in Ohio. This year, we are especially interested in hearing about nominees who have risen to meet the challenges facing Ohio and its communities due to COVID-19. Nominations are due this FRIDAY, Feb. 26.
 
Nominations should include the name of the individual or organization you are nominating and a brief statement (no more than 250 words) of why the individual or organization should be selected. You may submit more than one nomination. Letters of recommendation are welcomed but not required. 
 
Please submit your nomination by email to Sophia Chang. The Award will be presented on Friday, May 14, 2021, during the Ohio State Bar Association Council of Delegates meeting in Columbus. 
Save the Date:
The Fresh Start Gala
The 2021 Fresh Start Gala, which raises money to support LASC's bankruptcy program, will take place on Nov. 10, 2021. We look forward to a great in-person event supporting a wonderful cause.

If you or your firm would be interested in supporting the gala, contact Sondra Bryson.