11/21/2016: Legal Aid Honors Exemplary Staff Members

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The Leadership Award is given to acknowledge outstanding staff leadership, tireless efforts for Legal Aid clients and vision for Legal Aid’s work. The Leadership Award is presented to an individual who makes Legal Aid a better organization, helps others around them achieve more for Legal Aid clients, and creates a team for social justice. The 2016 winner is:

  • Hazel Remesch: Supervising Attorney Hazel Remesch joined Legal Aid in 2008.  Hazel’s work in the Housing Practice Group incudes representation of individual tenants in eviction cases, representation of tenant groups in complex litigation to enforce tenant rights, and statewide advocacy to enforce fair housing laws and increase the choices available to tenants with low income.  Hazel co-chairs Legal Aid’s Litigation Committee, ensuring that all Legal Aid attorneys have the training and support they need to engage in affirmative litigation.  Hazel supervises new housing attorneys and manages the difficult task of assigning new housing cases to colleagues – ensuring that clients receive the expertise they need and colleagues have the appropriate caseload balance.  Hazel also serves on the board of the Cleveland Tenants Organization, an important community partner in meeting the housing needs of tenants with low income.  Hazel is smart, professional, flexible, and willing to do what is needed to make sure the Housing Practice Group continues to do excellent work.  She has taken on all new responsibilities asked of her, and more.  Her dedication to high quality work and to Legal Aid’s clients is inspiring.

The Claude E. Clarke Award is given to acknowledge outstanding service through professional performance and commitment to The Legal Aid Society and its clients and named for Claude Clarke (1890 – 1975), who directed Legal Aid’s work for nearly four decades. The 2016 winners are:

  • Michael Attali: Supervising Attorney Michael Attali is a skilled attorney and a committed champion for our client community who has assisted thousands of low-income clients secure a fresh start through bankruptcy.  Mike represents individuals who are facing dire financial situations including income garnishment, utility shut offs, and suspension of their driver’s license. Mike carries an enormous case load, but he gives each client individualized attention and skillfully explains very complicated bankruptcy principles to his clients.  He also works hard to educate the U.S. Trustees and Bankruptcy Judges in the Northern District of Ohio about the various challenges that Legal Aid clients face and the important role that Legal Aid plays in our community.  Mike, who joined Legal Aid in 2008, has successfully built Legal Aid’s bankruptcy practice into a nationally recognized model.  Mike was a 2016 member of Legal Aid’s Hiring Committee and recently joined the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Ethics Committee.
  • Danielle Gadomski Littleton: Staff Attorney Danielle Gadomski Littleton joined Legal Aid in 2013 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow, focused on addressing the legal barriers faced by youth in and aging out of foster care.  Danielle developed relationships with other service providers and with foster youth, gaining the trust of youth in foster care, who were understandably wary of adults and institutions.  Danielle’s expertise and passion for this work meant that she was quickly recognized as a community leader, serving on the board of Adoption Network Cleveland, and planning committees for A Place 4 Me and Child and Family Advocates of Cuyahoga County.  Following the completion of her fellowship, Danielle seamlessly moved into a new role in Legal Aid’s medical-legal partnership with the MetroHealth System, the Community Advocacy Program.  She continues to represent youth in foster care, having forged a partnership with MetroHealth’s Medical Home for Foster Youth, as well as representing youth and parents referred by medical providers at MetroHealth.  Danielle also co-chairs Legal Aid’s African-Americans Vulnerable Populations Committee and is a member of Legal Aid’s Volunteer Engagement Committee.
  • Jasmine McCornell: Jasmine has been the welcoming face of Legal Aid since joining Legal Aid in 2013.  She first joined Legal Aid as a temporary receptionist, and was so impressive in that role that she soon joined Legal Aid as a staff member.  Jasmine is always professional, understanding, and patient in what is a very demanding and often hectic role.  She is able to calm the client in crisis and assist callers in finding the right person to talk to.  She treats everyone – clients, opposing counsel, staff, and supporters – with the same level of respect, friendliness and efficiency.  Jasmine has stepped in to fill other roles when asked and has learned those new roles quickly and executed them with skill, impressing all with her can-do attitude.  Because of her outstanding work her role has been redefined with additional responsibilities and she is now Front Desk Coordinator, a role which requires her to use her problem-solving skills every day to help multiple departments at Legal Aid.
  • Kristen Simpson: Kristen started at Legal Aid as an intern and volunteer.  Her high-quality work and dedication to our clients soon lead to a position on staff as a Paralegal in the Consumer Practice Group in 2014.  From the very beginning, Kristen proved herself to be invaluable to the bankruptcy program and the Consumer Group. Every day, Kristen meets with clients who come to Legal Aid seeking a fresh start through bankruptcy.  These are clients who have been through very difficult periods in their lives, and Kristen provides a sympathetic ear as well as the analytical skills to translate their stories into the legal relief they seek.  She provides support to the attorneys in the Consumer Practice Group, interviews clients, and provides on-going support to clients as they work their way through what can be a long process.  She is willing to take on any new task as needed, and does so with enthusiasm and grace.

News
2016
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