Posted October 26, 20238:00 am
Legal Aid volunteers work with Legal Aid staff to extend Legal Aid's reach in Northeast Ohio. Learn here the #MyLegalAidStory of Robert Cabrera, a longtime Legal Aid volunteer.
“I wanted to be a freedom fighter,” said Robert Cabrera, when asked about choosing to volunteer with The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. “Legal Aid seemed like a good place to start. I enjoy making a difference.”
Robert was a non-traditional student – he returned to college years after graduating from high school. He earned his BA in Political and Economic Theory at Oberlin College before entering Cleveland State University College of Law.
Prior to his second year in law school someone suggested that Robert apply for an internship for a local prosecutors office, but after his initial interview he realized that it was not a good fit. That’s when he decided to apply for a law clerk position at Legal Aid.
Robert was familiar with Legal Aid’s work – he knew someone who worked with a Legal Aid attorney. He was impressed at how committed the attorney was.
Robert was eventually hired as a law clerk in Legal Aid’s Lorain County office and then returned to Legal Aid one year after graduating law school as a Supreme Court law intern.
After starting his own firm, Robert volunteered at Legal Aid Brief Clinics and took on pro bono cases. One of his favorite pro bono cases involved a 74-year-old woman. When her husband passed away, she learned that he had taken a second mortgage out on their home. Without her husband’s income, she defaulted on the mortgage.
Robert was able to keep her in her home for over three years. He was able to help her sell the house and pay off the mortgage company. Robert’s client wanted to return home to the Philippines and, with the remaining proceeds from the sale of her house, she was able to do just that.
When asked why he continues to volunteer, Robert’s answer is simple – satisfaction.