“[It] always feels so good to give back and to know that maybe you’ve changed somebody’s life or you helped somebody’s life get back on track.”

Stephanie was caring for her husband, who was suffering from terminal cancer, when she fell behind on her bills and her wages started being garnished by a creditor. She was missing work to take him to doctor appointments and care for him, and the loss of what little wages she was able to earn was just too much.

“When the doctor tells you, you got cancer, you don’t think about: ‘There goes my finances. We’re going to really struggle.’ It means more than just you have cancer – it means that a lot of things in your life are going to change.”

Stephanie needed help so she could be there for her husband and work through her own grief. She found that help, and peace of mind, in a CLA volunteer attorney who helped her file for bankruptcy.

“I was so grateful for our attorney – it might not seem a lot, but they helped change my life for the better. It gives you hope that there’s people out there who will help.”
-Stephanie Geer, beneficiary of our Volunteer Legal Services Program



of civil legal needs of low-income Americans go un-served each year

1 in 2

applicants turned away by CLA due to lack of resources


approximate volunteer attorneys work on CLA cases pro bono each year


What level of commitment am I making by volunteering?

Your level of commitment is based on your availability and comfort level. We can support you in offering everything from brief counsel and advice, to attending legal clinics for a couple hours of commitment, to full representation on cases.

How many cases do I have to take each year?

Your caseload depends on your availability. We encourage our volunteers to take at least one case each year. We have volunteers who take more than that, or who have to take a year off when they are busier with their private practice schedules. It is flexible to meet your needs.

Do I have to be actively practicing in order to volunteer?

Attorneys  must be registered and in good standing with the Supreme Court of Ohio. Attorneys who are retired from private practice can register for Emeritus Pro Bono Status to reduce registration fees and continue to volunteer.

Am I covered under malpractice insurance?

CLA covers all volunteer attorneys under our malpractice insurance at no additional cost to you.

Can I get CLE credit for pro bono service – even if I just help at a clinic?

Yes. All your volunteer activities through CLA earn your CLE credits, including volunteering at a clinic. Attorneys can earn 1 CLE credit for every 6 hours of pro bono service up to 6 credit hours. We also offer free webinars and in-person training to all our volunteers, which can also help you earn your CLE hours.

Do I need to have experience in poverty law or certain substantive areas in order to volunteer?

No. We provide the training and support you need to feel confident in assisting clients. And our team of attorneys who are experts in poverty law are always available to help answer questions you may have. We are on-site at clinics to provide real-time help, and are also available to you if taking on a case for full representation.

Is there paralegal or administrative support available?

Yes. We have a team of paralegals specifically dedicated to our volunteer attorneys to help as needed. We also have standard forms and pleadings you can use, help with scheduling and filings, and administrative support.