Posted January 2, 20239:00 am
The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, founded in 1905, has a strong history of securing justice in Northeast Ohio for and with people with low income. We have grown considerably during the last few years, expanding our team and broadening our impact.
To achieve justice, we must always work to become a better version of ourselves. Legal Aid's Board of Directors, in partnership with staff and informed by community input, spent much of 2022 developing a new Strategic Plan. This plan, approved by the Board of Directors on September 7, 2022, went into effect on January 1, 2023 and will carry the organization forward through 2026.
The plan builds on the work accomplished during the last decade, and challenges Legal Aid to be more responsive to individual and systemic issues and foster new and deeper partnerships.
As we look towards the future, with continued emphasis on deepening and strengthening our work, we are excited to share these highlights from our 2023-2026 Strategic Plan.
Legal Aid's mission is to secure justice, equity, and access to opportunity for and with people who have low incomes through passionate legal representation and advocacy for systemic change.
Legal Aid envisions communities in which all people experience dignity and justice, free from poverty and oppression.
Legal Aid’s Core Values that shape our culture, support our decision-making, and guide our behavior are that we:
- Pursue racial justice and equity.
- Treat everyone with respect, inclusion, and dignity.
- Do high-quality work.
- Prioritize our clients and communities.
- Work in solidarity.
Issues we address:
Legal Aid will continue to understand the needs of our clients and client communities, and refine and focus our services to meet those needs within these four areas:
- Improve safety and health: Secure safety for survivors of domestic violence and other crimes, increase access to health care, improve health and safety of homes, and mitigate the social determinants of health.
- Promote economic security and education: Increase access to quality education, increase income and assets, reduce debt, and reduce disparities in income and wealth.
- Secure stable and decent housing: Increase availability and accessibility of affordable housing, improve housing stability, and improve housing conditions.
- Improve accountability and accessibility of the justice system and government entities: Increase meaningful access to courts and government agencies, decrease financial barriers to the courts, and increase access to justice for self-represented litigants.
Approaches to addressing issues:
- Legal representation, Pro Se Assistance & Advice: Legal Aid represents clients (individuals and groups) in transactions, negotiation, litigation, and administrative settings. Legal Aid also provides assistance to pro se individuals and advises individuals, so they are equipped to make decisions based on professional guidance.
- Community Engagement, Coalitions, Partnerships, and Education: Legal Aid provides people with the information and resources to solve issues on their own and seek assistance when needed. Legal Aid also works with clients and client communities and in partnership with groups and organizations to elevate the impact of our services and ensure sustainability of our outcomes.
- Advocacy for Systemic Change: Legal Aid works towards long-lasting, systemic solutions through impact litigation, amicus, comments on administrative rules, court rules, education of decision-makers, and other advocacy opportunities.
The 2023-2026 Strategic Plan outlines the following goals:
- Make systems better for our clients.
- Establish the infrastructure for systems change work to achieve long-term equity and justice.
- Build our skills and capacity to better fulfill our mission.
- Become more human-centered, trauma-informed, and responsive to our clients and client communities.
- Establish an anti-racist practice.
- Align our culture and infrastructure with our core values, impact areas, and strategic goals.
- Leverage the resources around us to amplify our impact.
- Establish reciprocal relationships and partnerships with our clients and client communities to increase impact.
- Deepen reciprocal relationships and partnerships with organizations to increase impact.