Legal Aid Board votes in next Executive Director

Associate Director to take reins of Community Legal Aid Services

The Board of Trustees of Community Legal Aid Services has tapped Steven J. McGarrity to succeed retiring Executive Director Sara E. Strattan. 

McGarrity has served as the organization’s Associate Director since 2009.

“Steven shared an inspiring vision for the future of Legal Aid under his leadership,” Board Chair Nancy Grim explained. “Clearly evident was his commitment to social justice, coupled with his hands-on experience as a staff attorney and Associate Director.”

The search process was led by a committee that included board members, managers and union members, “each of whom brought important insight to our exhaustive five-month search for Sara’s successor,” Grim shared. “The committee was extremely impressed with the caliber of candidates who expressed genuine interest in the work Legal Aid does in our communities.”

Upon accepting the appointment, McGarrity said he was excited to learn he had been selected following the national search.

“I am deeply honored that I will have the opportunity to lead an amazing staff of dedicated professionals,” he stated. “I look forward to working with the staff, the board and the community to further the principle that everybody deserves justice.”

Strattan, who has served as Legal Aid’s executive director for nearly the past two decades, said she was thrilled with the search committee’s 

decision.

“I was very pleased when the search committee chose Steven from among the other candidates,” she explained. “His background not only with legal aid, but with our organization specifically, will help ensure a smooth transition. He also has been a regional and national leader in leveraging technology in legal aid, and has a track record for building strong relationships with community groups serving those in need in our community.”

Strattan also shared her excitement in watching where McGarrity leads the organization in the future.

“His ideas and vision are exactly what this organization needs moving forward,” she said.

McGarrity, 48, is a California native. He graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a degree in political science before earning his law degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. In 2015, he was named a Where Health Meets Justice fellow, funded through the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership.

Currently, McGarrity resides in Warren with his wife and two children. He is an active member of his church and the community in both Akron and Warren, having served as Chair of the Greek Festival in Akron, as well as President of the St. Demetrios Orthodox Church Parish Council in Warren.

Community Legal Aid specializes in poverty law, providing high-quality civil legal services to eligible poor and low-income clients in eight central northeast Ohio counties. The non-profit firm helps clients with consumer rights, family, housing, foreclosure, bankruptcy, health education, disability and public benefits, unemployment compensation, immigration and citizenship, wills and taxes. It also works with community-based collaborations and is available as a resource for area nonprofit, client-related organizations.

Legal Aid’s search committee was assisted by The Yunker Group, a Cincinnati-based management consulting firm.

Posted: February 15, 2017