A Passion for Service to Others: Ann S. Bergen is Legal Aid’s 2013 Board President

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Ann S. Bergen, Esq., is a lawyer with an infectious passion for service to others. Her legal career and life’s work is guided by the adage “actions speak louder than words.” Both Ms. Bergen’s actions and words depict her deep-rooted commitment to Legal Aid and its mission to serve those who are low-income and vulnerable in Northeast Ohio.

After graduating from John Carroll University and Cleveland- Marshall College of Law, Ms. Bergen had an opportunity to work for a large law firm but chose to pursue a different career path. She believes that “life calls upon us to serve others” and decided to begin her legal career with The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland’s office in Painesville, Ohio. In 1998, she opened her own firm – The Law Offices of Ann S. Bergen – in Willoughby. A resident of Ashtabula County, her continued association with Legal Aid as a volunteer, donor and board member is grounded in her history of commitment to the organization.

Ms. Bergen is president of Legal Aid’s board of directors for 2013. For her tenure as president, she hopes to emphasize the legal community’s ability to serve others and be “a small pebble creating a larger ripple effect.” Ms. Bergen says, “My goal this year as president is to deepen and broaden the already strong footprint of Legal Aid. We need to continue to pool the resources of the five counties that Legal Aid serves and continue to engage members of the private bar, judiciary, and other community organizations in these geographic areas to work for the common good of Legal Aid. This engagement assists those in the legal community with channeling their “˜donative spirit’ on multiple levels- both financially and through volunteer work – when they commit themselves to the service of others through Legal Aid.”

In addition to having served on Legal Aid’s board of directors since 2006, her firm shows its strong commitment to volunteer service by providing regular pro bono work to those whose basic necessities are threatened because they cannot afford legal assistance. Ms. Bergen herself accepts one-on-one case matches as part of Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyers Program and is a regular participant in Legal Aid clinics.

Ms. Bergen says, “It is a privilege to be Legal Aid’s board president in 2013. The strength of the board is in our conviction, asking ourselves and others in the legal community to be leaders in helping others. I am honored to work together with the other board members and others in the legal community to combine our strengths of conviction together to ultimately achieve the best results for Legal Aid and its clients.”

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