For over a hundred years, the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland has provided legal services to those who cannot afford a lawyer. It is an organization with a remarkable history of progressive men and women working to improve the lives of the poor in Cleveland.  In 1979, Legal Aid moved to a renovated factory at 1223 West 6th Street in the WAREHOUSE DISTRICT. National budget cuts in 1981 and 1982 forced them to close offices, reduce staff and turn away clients. In 1983, the Greater Cleveland Bar Association began urging its members to volunteer for legal aid or provide financial support for their work. In 1993, the firm sought pro bono employees from large local law firms: participating firms included SQUIRE, SANDERS AND DEMPSEY, THOMPSON, HINE & FLORY and Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff. The company processed 11,097 cases in 2009 and closed 7,409. Since 2011, Colleen M. Cotter has been the Executive Director of Legal Aid. The firm had 55 staff, 90 staff and 1,400 volunteer lawyers and operated three client offices in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Lorain counties.
The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland is a legal aid society founded in 1905 in Cleveland, Ohio. She pioneered a national legal aid movement whose leaders embraced a simple but profound principle: rich and poor are entitled to equal treatment before the law. A person facing civil law problems related to health, housing, family, money and work is in most cases not entitled to a court-appointed lawyer. Legal aid is working to fill this gap and help as many people as possible. Will Legal Aid divorce Cleveland? In 1896, the New York Society amended its statutes and dropped the word “German” to become “The Legal Aid Society,” and in 1899 it opened three branches. As a result of these pioneers, legal aid societies were founded in Boston (1900), Philadelphia (1902) and Cleveland (1905).  The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland was founded in May 1905 and is the fifth oldest organization of its kind in the world. In a letter of intent published in 1906, the founders wrote that legal aid is based on the principle that justice is the right of all people, and aims to bring rich and poor to substantive equality before the law. Legal aid provides justice and addresses the fundamental problems of low-income and people in need of protection by providing high-quality legal services. Today, Legal Aid is led by Managing Director Colleen Cotter and operates four offices in the districts of Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain and Geauga. It is the only civil legal aid organization in northeast Ohio.
With a staff of 57 lawyers and 38 administrative and support staff, Legal Aid also has a voluntary roster of more than 3,000 lawyers, nearly 600 of whom work in a case or clinic in any given year. [ref. needed] The jury is here: Study shows that civil legal aid changes lives by providing long-term and lasting impacts that increase stability. The company`s decision to end its practice of using outside lawyers and establish its own civil and criminal divisions in the early 1960s proved highly controversial among judges and private lawyers, who unsuccessfully challenged it in court. The Corporation significantly expanded its services in the late 1960s with federal poverty reduction funding from the Office of Economic Opportunities. Under the direction of Burt W. Griffin, who later became a judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Legal Aid used a $160,000 grant in 1966 to establish five offices in Cleveland`s low-income neighborhoods, and increased its legal staff from 16 in 1966 to 66 in 1970, when it served 30,000 people. After the passage of the State Public Defense Attorneys Act in 1976, the county took over much of the public defense services that had been provided by the company. Despite national political criticism of legal aid policy and budgetary uncertainties, the Cleveland Society continued to expand its activities. Until 1978, the Civil Department consisted of a Family Law Department, a Department of the Elderly, and a programme that operated two group homes for persons discharged from public psychiatric hospitals after long-term commitments.