Posted August 20, 202012:20 pm
“She’s a real role model to me,” says Ann Porath, Esq., Managing Attorney of Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyers Program, about Barbara Roman, Esq. Barbara, a partner at Meyers Roman, is a Legal Aid Board Member and also serves as Chair of Legal Aid’s Pro Bono Committee. For over a decade, Barbara has vigorously encouraged fellow attorneys to use their expertise to serve low-income residents of Northeast Ohio. In 2011, as President of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (CMBA), Roman expanded the organization’s 3Rs program, which brings volunteer attorneys to high schools in Cleveland and East Cleveland to teach constitutional law to tenth graders. During Barbara’s tenure, 3Rs expanded to also provide mentorship for juniors and seniors as they prepare for college and seek scholarships. “Barbara played a crucial role in spreading awareness about these opportunities for attorneys to step-up,” Ann says. Like any great leader, Barbara leads by example. A regular at Legal Aid’s brief advice clinics, she often takes on complicated cases. “She has always stepped up,” says Ann. “Barbara has handled some of the most complicated family law cases.”
A few months ago, Roman concluded a case with client Erica Parks (name changed to protect client privacy), a devoted mother of two. Erica works nights and still gets up early to make sure her kids are ready for school. When her husband was unfaithful then filed for divorce, Erica had no support network to lean on – until Barbara stepped up. Barbara helped Erica navigate the divorce process while juggling her busy schedule. The case ended positively, with Erica winning $592 in monthly child support. Inspired by her experience with Barbara, Erica is currently attending nursing school to advance her career.
In addition to her work with individual clients, Roman led the expansion of Legal Aid’s Pro Se Divorce clinics into Pro Se Divorce Plus clinics. Pro Se clinics typically attract 10 – 15 people per month and last a few hours. They begin with a presentation from the leading volunteer attorney, who then opens up the session for assistance with paperwork and questions. Pro Se Plus Clinics run every other month and are designed to address slightly more complicated cases, such as cases involving children.
Roman continues to create new ways to serve clients. Through her involvement with the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, she is recruiting attorneys to help with Legal Aid’s Say Yes to Education work. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has also been helping Legal Aid organize Virtual Advice Clinics for family law cases.
Barbara Roman’s career has impacted many people and families over the years. Greater Cleveland is fortunate to have such a loyal advocate.