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Right to Counsel Creates Significant Benefit for Community

Posted February 2, 2023
9:00 am

This week, United Way of Greater Cleveland and The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland delivered an independent evaluation to City of Cleveland leaders highlighting the success of Cleveland’s Right to Counsel in eviction cases.

Since the implementation of Right to Counsel in 2020, Legal Aid has been successful in avoiding disruptive displacement for 90% of Right to Counsel clients facing eviction.

Stout’s 2023 evaluation of Cleveland’s Right to Counsel in 2022 resulted in updated insights including, but not limited to, how Right to Counsel:

Prior to the launch of Right to Counsel, Court data indicated that only 1%-2% of all tenants were represented by an attorney in eviction proceedings in Cleveland. Based on Stout’s analysis, in 2022 more people asserted their Right to Counsel, and approximately 79% of all eligible Cleveland households facing eviction were represented by Legal Aid.

Stout estimates that since July 2020, Cleveland or Cuyahoga County likely realized economic and fiscal benefits of up to $14 million because of the Right to Counsel in Cleveland Housing Court.

Read full report at

In 2019, Cleveland City Council passed Cleveland’s Right to Counsel ordinance with a recognition that “a lack of legal counsel for low-income tenants with minor children during eviction cases is a violation of a basic human right.”  Through Cleveland Codified Ordinance 375.12, the city became the first in the Midwest and only fourth in the United States to provide such a right. 

Launched on July 1, 2020, Right to Counsel Cleveland provides a right to free legal representation pursuant to the ordinance. This right is delivered to eligible households through a partnership between United Way and Legal Aid.

Key Findings, 2023 Independent Evaluation:

Executive Summary, 2023 Independent Evaluation:


Questions or have a media interview request? Contact:
Melanie Shakarian, Legal Aid or 216-215-0074

Katie Connell, United Way or 404-895-5513


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