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News Herald highlights events of “Pro Bono Week”

Posted October 21, 2013
10:08 am

Today's News Herald highlights some events of Pro Bono Week:

For the first time, volunteer attorneys will assist poverty-stricken residents filing for divorce at Lake County Domestic Relations Court.

Judge Colleen Falkowski will close her court down Tuesday as 18 attorneys donate their services to 25 people "” all of whom have children.

"No way could they ever come up with the money to get a lawyer," said attorney Ann Bergen, who also is president of the Board of Trustees for the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

Each person has been pre-screened for the Brief Advice Clinic through the Legal Aid Society, a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to clients who cannot afford to pay for counsel.

Although it is too late for needy residents to take part in Tuesday's event, Falkowski plans to offer similar programs on a quarterly basis.

"The need for volunteer attorneys to assist these families is overwhelming," Falkowski stated in a letter to attorneys urging them to help.

"You should rediscover two intangibles after participating: (1) it truly does feel great to help someone out; and (2) the thanks you receive from these folks is genuine and from the heart. All they usually hear is, "˜No, we can't help you' from various agencies and individuals."

Lake County Common Pleas Court judges will have short sessions with Brief Advice Clinic participants on proper court dress and behavior.

Willoughby Municipal Court Judge Harry Field also is making an extra effort to help the less fortunate as part of National Pro Bono Week.

For the second year in a row, Field's court is hosting a free continuing education presentation today for lawyers.

Each of the 150 attorneys who have registered to attend have pledged to take a pro bono case or make a donation to Legal Aid in 2013 or 2014.

Speakers will include Field, Falkowski, and Lake County Common Pleas judges Joe Gibson, Richard L. Collins Jr. and Eugene A. Lucci.

Other speakers on the agenda are: 11th District Court of Appeals Judge Timothy Cannon, Chardon Municipal Court Judge Terri Stupica, Geauga County Common Pleas Judge Forrest W. Burt and Ashtabula County Common Pleas judges Albert Camplese and Gary Yost.

To learn more about National Celebrate Pro Bono Week, click here.

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