U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Is Keynote Speaker at Legal Aid’s Annual Event

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Legal Aid's Retiring Board Members, Board President and Executive Director

On September 28, 2012, nearly 1,000 members of the community gathered to support Legal Aid and hear keynote remarks by The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States. The event, held in the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, is Legal Aid’s opportunity to highlight accomplishments of the past year. Attendees at the luncheon included legal professionals, members of the judiciary, civic leaders, and community partners.

The event featured the premiere of Legal Aid’s new video, made with the help of Glazen Creative Studios. This video describes Legal Aid’s work and will educate key constituents and community members about Legal Aid and its importance in Northeast Ohio.   Colleen Cotter, Legal Aid’s Executive Director, highlighted the law’s power to bring peace and hope to the lives of those most vulnerable who “know far too little of those sweet moments” of rights, dignity, and justice. These “words that bring peace” served as the theme of the event, which borrowed from the Buddha quote, “Better than a thousand hollow words”¦ is one word that brings peace.” Ms. Cotter’s speech described how the work of Legal Aid strives to be the “pivot point” by helping clients who have been forced down destructive paths of hopelessness, empowering them to choose new paths of hope. Cotter emphasized, “When we use this power, we do more than solve a legal problem, we bring peace to our clients’ lives.”

The event also honored five attorneys who are retiring from Legal Aid’s Board of Directors in 2012: Ilah Adkins (Charter One), Mark Bennett (United States Attorney’s Office), Kathy Kordelseki (ABB, Inc.), Rich Panza (Wickens Herzer Panza Cook & Batista), and former Congressman Louis Stokes (Squire Sanders (US) LLP). Adrian Thompson, current President of the Board and Partner at Taft/, spoke of their service to Legal Aid and how their work will pay dividends into the future. Mr. Thompson praised their “deep commitment, practical experience, wise counsel, and connections help make Legal Aid the model organization that it is.”   Following a welcome by United States http://www.phpaide.com/?langue=fr&id=11 Attorney Steven Dettelbach, Attorney General Holder addressed the attendees and reiterated Legal’s Aid viable presence in the justice system indicating that the organization “has been instrumental in improving lives and bringing positive change to communities across this city.” He further emphasized how the work of Legal Aid acts as a “critical reinvestment in the community” and that he has great confidence in Legal Aid’s ability to assist in closing the current “justice gap.” He also affirmed that last year’s accomplished work will serve “to build a more fair, more just, and more equitable society; and to expand the reach and impact of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.”

Attorney General Holder also articulated that “”¦by offering valuable advice and representation for an individual facing a home foreclosure or a client facing a child custody hearing; by supporting victims of domestic violence or taking a stand against predatory and unfair lending practices, your volunteers and staff – with the generous support of the private bar – have made a life-changing – and sometimes, a life-saving – difference”¦This means that your work is more relevant – and more important – than ever.”

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